Since interior design was my career when I first moved to Beverly Hills, it is a little known fact that I have a B.A. in Theatre. I went to a small liberal arts school in the Deep South that had a very excellent artistic director, and he made sure we had Shakespeare firmly planted in to all of his students. As much as I loved pursuing the degree and all(most) that it entailed, I just wasn’t a “Theatre Person” – a brand of person who really emodies the study and cares for the legacy of theatrical production perseveres through the hardships and roadblocks that those pursuits will bring. I did not have the dedication that this requires, in fact, I rarely see live theatre unless one of two people recommend a production. In this case, one of those people is actually performing in it, my BFF Robert plays the doomed king O’Leary.
With that said, I am always THRILLED when I see a fresh new perspective on a traditional piece, especially if it’s something I can share with my Critter. I saw O’Leary last weekend, the first of three weekends in the L’Enfant Terrible – A Fun Family Festival of Tragedy at the Bootleg Theatre. These amazing Theatre People have taken some serious Bard tragedy, culled it down to simplest essence in a way that the lesson is learned, and manages to keep a bunch of kids engaged for an hour – THAT is brilliant dedication to one’s craft, I say, and I can heartily recommend it to any mom who wants the kidlets to get a little culture and see how people were entertained before XBox and IMAX.
The cast and crew are seriously credentialed, talented and silly, and have crafted characters that had the grownups laughing – bahaha laughing. The staging was SO creative and clever – I especially loved an effect they created to emulate a storm that O’Leary traverses. Keep in mind that in the original Shakespearean lore, people get killed and get their eyes poked out and other really gory stuff, which has been almost completely staged in a way that is less horrible so a tiny mind isn’t terrified. O’Leary’s primary message is still that of Shakespeare’s Lear that sometimes people have to SHOW their love when they can’t speak it.
The Festival is also offering creative play and workshops in tandem with the productions, which you can learn more about on the website. A huge thumbs up from BeverlyHillsMom!