On January 13th, I went to see a play produced by The Atlantic Theater Company in New York City. It was called "Eddie and Dave," written about Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth and their rise to fame with the band Van Halen.
The most defining aspect of this play that made it different from typical off-Broadway plays was that the male characters, including Dave and Eddie, were played by women, and one of the two female characters was played by a man.
I immediately noticed this discrepancy when I looked at playbill before the show started. I also noticed I was one of the few young people in the audience. The majority of those who surrounded me were senior citizens.
Although I noticed the difference in gender, I didn't think much of it. Not that its normal for women to play men in shows, but its been done before and in this day and age, I didn't think it mattered.
The play was very well done. I enjoyed the structure, the comedy, and the story. Once again, didn't think much of the gender-bending.
I waited in line for the bathroom, with old women in front of me and behind me. They were all discussing the show and I stood quietly and listened.
"Interesting casting..." said one woman, awkwardly. Her friend agreed. Another woman said that she really liked the gender differences and that it didn't take away from the story at all. Most just mentioned the gender thing and moved on with their conversation.
This got me thinking about two things: how far we have come as a society when it comes to accepting the bending of gender norms and the androgyny of so many people today, but also how far we have to go.
Yes, it is more common for younger people to be more accepting of such a thing, but older people who view gender, in the same manner, do exist. The difference is that people on the same wavelength as me don't even think anything of it and vocalize their opinions, whether positive or negative. Some think it's so innovative and others think they should have stuck to traditional norms.
I suppose what we all can take away from this is that people shouldn't be judged for belonging to a certain group, like assuming old people are traditionalist just because they're old. Furthermore, we all should try to open our minds to breaking societal norms, or at least accepting others for doing so. Especially in theater and art in general; women can play men and men can play women and it shouldn't make any difference to how the piece is digested.