Gino & Miranda @ 'Little Women' - def vibing with the feminist undertones
What’s it about?
The complicated lives of four sisters in the 19th century. Glory, glory hallelujah #scarletfever
Miranda: So basically, Gino and I were called on to do some last-minute ushering for Primary Stage’s production of Little Women. We had NEVER ushered before, so we legit had no clue what the hell we would have to do. We got there at like 11am and awkwardly sat in the lobby, trying to make eye contact with the administration and failing a million times. Idk exactly what happened when Gino went outside, but I think he finally talked to someone…
Gino: I puffed up my chest and walked outside to the administrator all brave like, and then in my mousiest voice asked for the woman we had been emailing. Turns out, it was the woman next to her! Great. She apologized, thinking Miranda and I were techies (insult or compliment? lmk) and gave us pizza to snack on. That’s when we were briefed about the job. We were super excited that this program helps expose high school students to free theatre! The children finally came soon after :’)
Miranda: YASSS! I was so stoked to see these high schoolers marching down the street. They were from Queens, the Bronx and even a few Manhattan schools. I love seeing shows with younger audiences. They don’t exactly follow “theatre etiquette” completely because, for many of them, it’s their first theatre experience. So their reactions are as raw and natural as it gets. Plus, does “theatre etiquette” even exist anymore? Discuss.
Soooo, Gino and I, with a stack of Playbills in hand, got assigned to certain high schools and brought them “in house” (I had to ask Gino what that even was—turns out it just means bringing them to their seats, lol). Gino went off to his group and I went to mine. I started talking to Jamal, a junior who’s seen only three shows in his life, who let me know that at the last show he saw, he fell asleep. We laughed and talked about how we wished theatres would create new stories instead of reviving old shows. It was so cool to get his honest perspective.
Did you talk to any of them, Gino?
Gino: I tried to talk to some of them, but they weren’t that receptive tbh. They seemed almost uncomfortable to be in such a quaint looking theatre. Which seems silly, cause you’d imagine NYC people would be hella confident, right? It just goes to show that theatre (and live arts in general) are not as prevalent in these young people’s lives as I think they should be… probably because going is so dang expensive! ANYWAY, big kudos for Primary Stages and their people for trying to change that. We stan, cause it’s exactly what SEEN tries to do.
Anyways, eventually the show started. And Miranda is so right, their reactions were much more raw and uncensored than the average theatregoer. They didn’t hesitate to let out “ooohs” or “aaaahs,” which made the show even more entertaining for me. They seemed to like the show for the most part, especially the girl in front of us who was actually thrashing around in her seat when something exciting happened. But I think we all felt the length of the play for sure. In the era of social media, we need concise and easily digestible content. So anything over an hour can push our six-second attention spans to the limit, lol.
Miranda: Seriously, Primary Stages has a gala for their shows in order to help fund-raise to let high schoolers see theatre for free. THAT is what we are talking about. More theatres should take on this task. It will help make the experience accessible, and make sure theatre won’t become a dying art. But along with that, shows need to modernize a bit as well, meaning that the length and concepts have to be relatable to these fresher generations. I was LIVING when Josephine (also known as Jo March, a character from the play—no high schoolers were harmed for this post) slapped her sister and the whole audience audibly cheered her on. It was more hype than some other parts of the show, and I think the actors fucked with it. The show dealt a lot with the social roles of “ladies and gentlemen,” which seems pretty relevant to today’s teens, given the variety of options that exist for gender labels and such.
The funniest part though was before the show. One of the high schoolers, Lucy, asked if she could charge her phone in the outlet on the side of the wall while the show went on, and for some reason that made me laugh. If theatres want to survive, they better start putting outlets underneath the chairs, OK? We need to keep our Instagram fans updated on our theatre outings! Interacting with the high schoolers reminded me of how much I, as a young person, still just want to be treated like normal person at the theatre. I don’t wanna get weird looks for being in a place that “isn’t for me.” Also, it’s okay if you don’t like a show. There is so much pressure to like something just because everyone else did, or because it’s supposed to be good. Nah, as long as you take a second to figure out why you didn’t like it, you’ll get a lot more out of your experience. Trust me, there are some deep reasons behind why you might not have liked something. I highly recommend thinking about it. I mean, what do you think would make high schoolers feel more comfortable seeing theatre?
Gino: Yesss Primary Stages! Hopefully these galas become more commonplace over time in theatres all over the country (maybe even the world, dare I say). I think as soon as younger people see a bunch of period costumes, they automatically start snoozing. Kinda shitty, but that’s the truth. There’s got to be something new, fresh and dope. These high schoolers were definitely vibing with the feminist undertones in Little Women, but if a work is going to claim to be feminist, it shouldn’t be softly feminist. Cause hello, can we look at the mess down in Alabama? We need theatre that’s so loudly and obnoxiously feminist that it will ignite passion in the audience in a way that will encourage people to strive for change!
Being an usher was a really unique experience because we got to interact with a bunch of new people that we otherwise wouldn’t have encountered. It made me feel all mushy inside to be a part of helping expose these high schoolers to cool theatre. Plus we got to see a play! Win, win, win. I think everybody should try out ushering. I know that I’d love to go back to one of these, especially for a student matinee. Thanks to Amy from Primary Stages :-)
Miranda: Woohoo! Thank youuuu :)
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