Saturday, we went to see Grand Theft Ovid at the Brick Theater in Williamsburg, Brooklyn — a theatrical adaptation of excerpts from Ovid’s Metamorphosis, using videogames as a puppetry stage.
It was pitched to us by no less a set of cultural authorities than The Village Voice and Wired Magazine as an actual cutting-edge aesthetic experience. They didn’t mention that the actors would be middle-school and high-school kids, that the audience would almost exclusively consist of their siblings, friends, parents, and grandparents, and that there would be a sense of afterschoolishness and educationality about the whole enterprise. Which was awesome, for what it was. I can’t think of a better way to get kids excited about theater, or the classics, or narrative itself, or whatever. But it wasn’t what we had expected. We felt uncomfortable, pervy, and weird sitting in those cramped bleachers, like we had stumbled into somebody else’s kid’s graduation ceremony or birthday party, when we thought we were going to a drag show.