The decade was 1980 and parents were dropping off tweens and teens at the movies. The theater had two screens. The PG and under ticket allowed entrance into the building but that did not stop kids from seeing Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Beverly Hills Cop.
It was easy enough to purchase a ticket for the PG movie and jump between theaters. This is how I was able to see Molly Ringwald's unique make up application technique in The Breakfast Club.
Last week, I went Back To the Future with some theater hopping.
Silicon Valley is full of Beautiful Minds. I often joke with my husband I am not smart enough to live here.
The 7th-grade neighbor boy in our carpool talks with excitement about math formulas he has cracked and a 5-year-old around the corner has already started to code. I’m not kidding. Then there is the 9th-grade boy down the street building a computer in his garage (made from twigs in the yard for all I know).
The parents of these brilliant kids fuel innovative companies like Google, Facebook, Linkedin, and dozens of others. What this means, is field trips can be really cool!
Last week, I chaperoned a field trip to Cisco. What is Cisco? It is the interstate highway for the internet. You used Cisco’s highway to have these words delivered to your screen.
Tho objective of the day was for 10 & 11-year-olds to create a school prototype to better prepare students for the future. The kids had 90 minutes to pull together ideas, create google docs, and prepare a presentation for an audience of 100 people.
As you can imagine these code writing, 3D assembling, math wizards solved all sorts of problems with their models. The schools had hologram teachers, real-time video streaming, and virtual reality simulators allowing students to travel the world. There were also blueprints mirroring typical Silicon Valley work environments with nap pods, organic gardens, and a pet friendly mentality. It was clear, these children had been to a “bring your child to work" day.
The process was full of energy and innovation. The presentations were wonderful. But...the end sucked some air out of the room. The day concluded with winning teams receiving virtual reality headsets (I’m not even kidding, 15 VR headsets were awarded) and everyone else was given a pen designed by NASA that can write under water.
Announcements of the winning teams should have brought congratulatory high fives, but for whatever reason, it did not. No one even seemed to want the consolation underwater writing pen prize because as one kid put it, “the paper will be all wet.” Okay, that may be true, but still. These brilliant minds wanted to be more brilliant than the minds at the next table. I'm not bashing competition, I coached for over 20 years and am a big fan, rather I'm just noting it was a bit of a joy kill.
While sitting in theater #1, a text came from friends in Ohio. They offered a glimpse of the feature presentation across the country in theater #2. Similar to theater #1, the setting was a school event.
They were watching children and teachers from the special needs department perform a surprise choreographed dance. A string of video texts allowed me to jump over into theatre #2 for a bit. The show was so lovely! Performers seemed aware of the joy they had the potential to share. According to the text strand, not a dry eye remained at final curtain call. Hearts had been warmed and each person in the audience knew they had been given a gift (even more valuable than a VR headset).
As I was hopping between Theatre #1 and #2, I couldn’t help think about the differing abilities of the children presenting in Theatre #1 to those performing in Theatre #2. One set of abilities has the potential to advance the world with technology, and given their Silicon Valley roots, they probably will.
The other set of abilities has the power to bring a room full of people to their feet while filling hearts with warmth and filling eyes with tears.
Imagine what could happen if both were written into the same script.
What if abilities of each group merged at Theater #3? What if the brilliant presenters in the Silicon Valley Theatre became mindful of how their talents can have a tremendous impact on the nonverbal, mobility-limited population in Theatre #2?
Augmentative communication? Advances in mobility? Virtual simulators for experiences once thought impossible?
What if the performers in theater #2 had the opportunity to show Theatre #1 what true celebration, love, joy and appreciation feel like?
All we have to do is a bit of theater hopping. If your ticket has offered you resources and an innovative sharp mind, I encourage you to let that imagination run wild! Fully embrace and enjoy your experiences in Theatre #1, and then sneak into Theatre #2 from time to time.
If you hold a ticket to Theater #2 which has offered you the ability to warm hearts and show others how to truly love and celebrate, applaud loudly! Then hop over to the adjacent theater and share the experience with an audience.
This merger feels within reach. We are so close. The cast and script are prepped. We have all we need for an Oscar-winning feature film that will bring an audience to their feet, literally and metaphorically. We just need to get out of our seats and see what is happening in the next theater.