Monday, May 02, 2016

Arsenic and the Elderly Audience

We did our matinee performance of Arsenic & Old Lace yesterday, and as expected we had a lot of older people in the audience, including at least one 90 year old who was celebrating his birthday. And, I must add, he had a very firm handshake.

Unexpectedly, it was a supremely appreciative audience. They laughed a lot. We got laughs on lines that we didn't get laughs on before. There was a big laugh on the line, early on, "This may not be very charitable of me, but I'm beginning to think that Mr. Hitler is not a Christian!"

Of course, a lot of people in this age group actually remember World War II, which is the era in which the play is set. The play's cultural milieu is the one a lot of them grew up in.

A lot of the play's humor has to do with old-fashioned respectability. They remember that. Many of the young have little grasp of it.

The past is an alien land
peculiarly distant
loaded with very firm laws
that are now non-existent.

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