Archive for Thursday, April 12, 2007

Errant laughter

April 12, 2007


To the editor:

Last week, my children and I attended the Lied Center's school performance of "A Midnight Cry: The Underground Railroad to Freedom," performed by the Dallas Children's Theater, a moving account of a slave girl's life and sojourn on the Underground Railroad.

In one particular scene, the main character, Lida, is whipped by her slave master. My young daughter cried silently while she watched Lida's body heave forward and crumble to the ground with each lash of the whip. The mood was somber as the cast sang an a cappella spiritual during this scene. But then I heard children from different areas of the auditorium break into laughter! Thankfully, the actors did not miss a beat and continued their performance. Then, there it was again! More laughter as Lida was whipped, which now had me tearing up.

Was this play too slow to hold the attention of kids used to fast-paced movies and music? Are children becoming desensitized to violence because of its regularity in television and movies? I don't know.

But there is something wrong with kids laughing when another person is hurting. These were not jaded teenagers. These children were third- to sixth-graders - too young to find humor in another's pain; young enough to still be innocent with tender hearts, surprised at injustice.

Jesus said that unless we become like little children we shall not enter the kingdom of God. I'm sad that little children don't act like little children anymore.

Rachel Price,



Ragingbear 10 years, 11 months ago

Becoming? Try ARE. The problem isn't that there is violence on television and in movies. The problem is that there are lazy parents that are too busy talking on their cell phones while driving to bother to do anything more than plop their fat little babies in front of the TV and give them a bag of cheesy poofs.

Love how Rachel here couldn't finish an otherwise decent letter with a chance to force her religion down our throat.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 11 months ago

You know, I remember going to those plays, during school hours, that were performed specifically for school kids.

We liked them mainly because we got to get out of class for awhile.

It's entirely possible that the laughter happening at the time of that particular scene was purely coincidental. A lot of the kids who go to those kind of things aren't even paying any attention to the play. They're talking and laughing amongst themselves.

classclown 10 years, 11 months ago

First clapping between movements, now this. Perhaps war has been declared on the culturally elite.

crono 10 years, 11 months ago

Ragingbear... that's a little harsh, isn't it? Briefly mentioning a quote from one of the most important historical/religious leaders who ever lived hardly qualifies as "[forcing] her religion down our throat."

mom_of_three 10 years, 11 months ago

Perhaps the children, who were in 3rd through 6th grade, thought the movement of the character (acting as if she was whipped) was funny. It could have been the younger kids, or as someone else said, it could have been a reaction to something else entirely.
I am a little shocked that a play included a scene such as that, especially in front of young children.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 11 months ago

som people laugh when they do not know how to react, and with small children this could very well be the case. I agree with mom of three, seems a little to much for a third grader.

Jackalope 10 years, 11 months ago

Some small smattering of laughter during a serious drama or a serious scene in a light drama is not to be unexpected. Any seasoned director will warn the cast that it will happen as a direct result of there always being someone in the audience that cannot seem to deal with the emotion on the stage and it is an almost involuntary response. It happens in every stage production and has happened for centuries. It is not a modern thing. It is just people. Children are people.

Speakout 10 years, 11 months ago

I would like to address this to Mom_of_three: We have insulated our children so much that they have become insensitive to everything. Isn't it time to teach children truths? We start by telling them there is a Santa Claus and end up reminding them that the violence we see in television shows is just acting. THEN they see the real violence in Iraq and SubSahara Africa and they take that for acting too.

Reality has to sink in at one point. Santa Claus is not real and its time for children to realize that there are bad things in life and slavery was one of them. Isn't it odd that we become outraged over statements demeaning blacks but have forgotten the outrage done to blacks? Are we more concerned about what we say than what has been done?

Wilbur_Nether 10 years, 11 months ago

mommaeffortx2 and Jackalope have made very good points here. Laughter is often the psyche's method for releasing emotion the individual doesn't otherwise know how to deal with.

Christine Pennewell Davis 10 years, 11 months ago

speakout, third grade is a little young for some realality. No problem with sixth graders, but third grade maybe have been alittle young for this play. And letting a child watch a real war in third grade is not a good idea, I like the fact that my children do not have to live a life full of war in their front yard, and I like that I do not have to tell them he harsh truth of the world just yet not until I think they could handle it this includes our own country horrible past.

Confrontation 10 years, 11 months ago

Its scary how much Rachel loves to see her own child cry and become traumatized by watching something like this. I seriously doubt that any 3rd-6th graders want to cry in front of their peers. Therefore, they are going to crack jokes and turn their focus away from the violent scene. Just common sense that Rachel seemed to have missed. She must have been homeschooled and has no clue about being around other kids.

OnlyTheOne 10 years, 11 months ago

Hey RagingBear don't blame the cheezypoofs!

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