High schoolers are terrifying.
I mean, do you remember being a teenager and ushered into the auditorium and having to sit through some presentation or assembly?
There is an inherent skepticism on the individual level, that proliferates in a room of other teenagers. “What can this adult possibly tell me about myself that I ALREADY KNOW!?” Ahem. Maybe it’s that whole, you-don’t-realize-until-you-get-older….thing, but I remember feeling that way, and the first time I ever stepped onstage as a “grown up” for 1100 students for a Deana’s Educational Theatre show, I was reminded of how my peers and I felt “back in the day” about required school assemblies. It made me feel a little nauseated.
After being with DET for almost three years, I can attest that it’s not always easy to garner the attention of an entire class of teenagers but it is certainly not impossible. And YES it varies from school to school, town to town, state to state. Seriously.
So over the past few days, some members of the company and myself rehearsed and presented a new show that’s in development, to a couple of groups of teenagers. Talk about intimidating. Classroom setting! Digital Age! Short attention span!
I really felt out of place generation-wise when I saw a sign that had a big X over a photo of ear buds. “In MY day, in MY high school we had CD players, not these teeny inconspicuous ipods.”
But something rather miraculous (strong choice of word I know) happened. They were engaged during the entire presentation. And they had TONS of feedback! The parts we thought they would find corny, they fully accepted. And they pointed out issues that we hadn’t really thought about.
It was then that I also realized that these kids respected us, and maybe some of them even looked up to us. Many of them also cared very much about the issue we were trying to address (cyberbullying) and gave us detailed responses. Definitely encouraging.
I guess I kind of fell for stereotypes about teenagers, even though I’ve already been one. LAME. And I guess these kids were already ahead of ME because they were completely open, accepting, and willing to help us help them.
sniff. That is all.