I saw an off Broadway stage production of “Pride and Prejudice” the other day. (on a side note, thanks to the new NYC flashing billboards, I learned funfact #184, the difference between Broadway and Off Broadway is the number of seats in the house) This new production was the brainchild of Kate Hamill. While keeping to the basic theme of the novel, she adapts it for a small, one set stage, as well as puts a 21st century twist on it.
Some of the characters have been eliminated (bye bye Kitty). There are only 8 actors in the production, so with the exception of Darcy and Elizabeth, players have multiple roles. Mary and Mr. Bingley are played by the same talented actor- he flips his hair in a different direction and throws a “dress” over his pants. The result is camp and funny. And that’s how Hamill updated this work- by making it camp. The actors used many of the same lines from the book, but interpreted them a bit differently than you would see in the Colin Firth version. (sorry- to me that is the definitive version- there is only one thing wrong with it)
Interpretation. Every person reading a book will have a different perception of it. Every person looking at a painting will have a different perception of it. Sure, many people will agree on certain points, but perception will vary by the viewer. This is just how it is- everyone’s life experiences view how they interpret things.
The 11th grade in my daughters school have been studying “The Scarlet Letter” since the beginning of the year. Prior to the Thanksgiving break, the students had an assembly of sorts, where groups of students came up with individual interpretations of SL. My daughters group did a movie, “Father Figure” which told the story through the eyes of Dimsdale. One group did an interpretive dance, another did a riff on the TV show “How I Met Your Mother”. She said is was great to see the different ways people talked about the book and she saw many areas of the book in a new light.
So, you’ve heard about a play I saw, you’ve heard about my kids school assignment. What’s the point?
The point is, everyone has a different perception of everything. Try to remember this in all your human interactions. Remember that, even though someone may “look” just like you, they may be vastly different in their core. Remember that someone may “look” totally different from you, but they might share many of the same traits and viewpoints. We spend so much time talking about being equal (which is great and everyone should have equal opportunity- I am a huge believer in equal opportunity) that we forget that we should strive to be individuals. We should take the unique qualities that we all possess and own them. Celebrate our visions of everything we see.
While there is nothing wrong with being “like” someone else, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being “different”. People with different ideas and different notions are what make the world go round. Never be afraid to share your opinion for fear of ridicule. never be afraid to disagree with someone (except me because I am always right…)
So as we officially enter what I refer to as the Holiday season, embrace your unique view, and the unique stance of others. Do things your way, but allow others to have the same freedom. And remember, whatever holiday greeting people choose to say, accept it with gratitude, because all they’re trying to do is say “Peace”.