Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Bully of Baker Street: Week Three

Newton D. Baker Elementary
In the past three weeks, Classics On Tour has already staged twenty-nine performances of "Sherlock Holmes Meets the Bully of Baker Street!" They have nineteen more (and one workshop) to go!

In addition to the many schools the “Sherlock Holmes Meets the Bully of Baker Street” tour is visiting, we are also taking the show to fifteen libraries and other public venues.

At a few public libraries, the audience has been almost entirely made up of adults, fans of the great detective in all of his permutations. The big people are no less enthusiastic about responding to the questions the characters ask them during the performance and seem to understand they are attending a show meant for children.

Post-show discussions run in different directions with these audiences, as adults have questions not only about the show, but about the purpose of the show. About the theme of bullying, and how our student audiences have responded.

On our post-show evaluation, audience members are invited to share their thoughts about what they most liked about the show, and also what they liked the least. One woman, a senior citizen, wrote, “Too preachy!” And I suppose it is. You could say it’s meant to be.

During the post-show discussion, one audience member in Lakewood, after first making clear that she was very happy to see a diverse cast, wanted to know how intentional the casting was. A generation ago it would have been the politically correct thing to just say the casting was “color-blind” and wasn’t intentional at all.

Chagrin Falls Intermediate School

But that isn’t true, and our acting company addressed that with their response. Because the play is, in fact, a little preachy, and because we knew we would be sending the play into schools with a predominantly African-American student body, the picture of who is doing to lecturing and who is being lectured to -- and also who is doing the bullying -- these were all issues we wanted to take into account when creating the company.

One comment that has confused me was the person who wrote on their evaluation “No Politics!!” I’d like to know what they meant. There is nothing overtly political in my script. Is Vicky being called a “nasty girl” a political statement? Is Vicky’s pride in becoming an American immigrant a political statement?

If these expressions are thought to be political, whose fault is that?

To be continued.

Great Lakes Theater's next FREE public performance of the “Classics On Tour” production of “Sherlock Holmes Meets the Bully of Baker Street” will be Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 10:00 AM at the Columbia Branch of the Lorain Library System, 13824 W River Rd., Columbia Station.

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