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
loaded with very firm laws
that are now non-existent.