We screened at Poughkeepsie Day School yesterday. Once in the afternoon for students in grades 7-12 and once again at 7pm to a mosly adult gathering. The James Earl Jones Theater, donated by that esteemed alumni parent, is a state-of-the-art theater with great sound, and a beautiful picture. We brought a rented mini-dv player, in Sophia's ongoing committment to never letting us live through another screening reacting to the random skips and pixolation from dvd machine to dvd machine. An imperfect technology, the dvd, in the public projection arena at least.
Sophia and I arrived early to meet with David Held, the I.T. guy, who easily patched us in and recalibrated the aspect ratios, he gaves us a lovely, crisp picture, thank you very much, David. When the students started arriving some of them looked pretty young, based on our thinking of the likely age range for this film. Sophia and I exchanged looks which told us we were both thinking the same thing. We were surprised and delighted to find that different ages reacted to different parts of the story. Sophia's guess is that Sadie's innocence, and the innocence of that crush is something with which young adults can relate. That feeling of being near someone you like and you're not sure whether to scream and jump up and down, or punch them in the arm, or find some other way to punish them for the chemistry which makes you act like an idiot.
Whatever the reason, they giggled, and tittered, and laughed, and screamed at Grandma's growl, and then again when she spoke on her death bed. They laughed at the fart joke! This in and of itself is not extraordinary, I mean who doesn't laugh at a fart joke? But structurally, for me, as a storyteller, it's a marker. If at that point in the story the audience laughs at the fart joke they're still listening, they haven't wandered away. So when the kids whooped in surprise at Henry's description of a scared stomach, it was heaven. They'd stayed with it.
When the credits rolled a lone female voice lamented,
"I don't get it...!"
We all laughed. The questions that followed were interesting and curious and fun, and it was very clear that we had found an unanticipated audience. We'd always expected it to play well in the 21-75 market, intellectuals, puzzle and mystery lovers, romance, Civil War, but had not thought of the 13 year old market as remotely ours. And not just the girls, the boys had many more questions of a "how did you...?" nature. It was a lovely eye opening lesson for us.
The evening screening was less vocal, but again we were reassured at how consistently well our-film-that-could performs, and how many want to see it again. We have begun to collect email addresses for our DVD launch which will happen this spring. So if you'd like to be on that list please let us know at:
Thank you to the Drama Teachers, Greta Baker and Laura Hicks for inviting us, and to Sandra Moore and the PDS Development staff for taking such good care of us. We look forward to returning to your theater with our next film, SLAP&TICKLE.