STOMP-ing the Screaming Mimi’s
by HT Cannon
I’m a tolerant person.
Long fuse and a healthy respect for the trials of parenting – done it twice, myself. Please explain the rationale to me, however, of taking anyone under the age of five to see the world-acclaimed show STOMP?!
I recently attended the sold out performance at Jones Hall – still one of our best acoustic venues, with its honey-combed ceiling – and, though the show is now 20+ years old, it is as fresh and entertaining as the original British production.
But it is loud.
Not just momentary pitches of uncomfortable measure and frequency, but LOUD! Clap your hands and holla, loud! Nerve thrumming loud! Old people bringing earplugs loud! Fantastically moving, feel it in your bones, loud!
So why, when one would assume the audience is comprised of fairly educated, bright aficionados of art or at least cultural diversity seekers who are capable of a Google-preview, would any of them bring babies to this performance?!
Not only were the strategic moments of silent tension punctuated by the shrill cries of shocked and terrified infants, but those parents with the grace to be embarrassed then peppered the stage with unintentional floodlights as they exited stage right and left with howlers in tow. We didn’t pay for a strobe effect, people!
What did they think would happen? Perhaps that their prodigy would somehow develop a more effective way than shrieking to tell mom and dad, “my ears hurt, you idiots!” before they’ve developmentally managed to coo “mama” or “dada”? Or maybe the parents assumed sleeping through a two-hour show of crashing trash can lids and high-energy percussion was an option?
Whatever the case, do yourselves, your kids, and the rest of the audience the courtesy of getting a babysitter. If you need permission to have an adult-only night out, it’s granted. Make a point of getting to know some teenagers you trust to watch over your brood, and plan a couple of trial runs beforehand. At a minimum, weigh the risk of two hours of unmonitored influence from your mother-in-law against the risk of damaging your child’s hearing at a show not intended for their appreciation.
“Age Appropriate” does not just apply to content!
It is a much more far-reaching life lesson for your children to understand that they aren’t entitled to enjoy everything mom and dad get to just because they exist, and that there are some things in life worth waiting to experience.
I’m sure the cast would’ve appreciated the display of respect from our parenting community, as well.
Bravo for STOMP-ing on through!