Age does not equal Maturity

I had my World Lit. class last night. I am really enjoying this course.

Our assignment for last night’s class was to read Tartuffe by Moliere. For those of you that might not have read the play, it is about a very pious man who worms his way into the heart of Orgon. Orgon then makes enemies out of just about everyone else because of his foolish admiration for Tartuffe. The play is good. I really enjoyed it. It had some very funny moments.

Anyway, last night in class, we had the opportunity to see part of two different performances of the play. One performance was done by the Circle in the Square Theatre in New York. The other was done by The Royal Shakespeare Company (hereafter referred to as RSC). I’m sure I don’t have to tell you which performance was superior. (Hint: It wasn’t the Circle in the Square performance.)

In the RSC performance, Elmire was played by Alison Steadman. I recognized her immediately as Mrs. Bennet from my favorite version of Pride and Prejudice. I have only one thing to say: this woman is an amazing actress. I didn’t think she was that great in her performance as Mrs. Bennet. However, that was before I saw this play. In P&P, Ms. Steadman plays a very one-dimensional character. She overacts the part, in my opinion, and drives me insane with her ridiculous facial expressions. In her defense, Mrs. Bennet drives me nuts, too. She is haughty, arrogant, rude, and just plain silly, to quote Mr. Bennet.

As Elmire, Ms. Steadman has a chance to play a character that we love. I decided that anyone who can play Elmire as well as she did, and then turn around and play that ridiculous Mrs. Bennet, must have a great amount of talent. I’d like to see more of her work.

Anyway, I am digressing from my point.

During the course of watching the RSC performance, the actor playing Tartuffe drops his pants. I don’t think that the actor playing Tartuffe does this in every version of the play. It isn’t in the script. So, this was unexpected. Still, we never see the front of Tartuffe, just his backside. Now, I prefer to watch performances without nudity, but I am mature enough to handle it if it is within the film I happen to be watching at the time. I didn’t giggle, yell, cry out in dismay, or make crude comments. I was surprised, but shrugged it off and continued to watch the play. I did say that I continued to watch the play, right? I should have said that I tried to continue to watch the play. I couldn’t hear it. I couldn’t hear the rest of the scene because my classmates were giggling, yelling, crying out in dismay, and making crude comments.

I’m sorry, but how old are we? Here I am, in a college classroom, surrounded not only by traditional college students, but by non-traditional college students. Most of these non-traditional students are older, some are married, and some have children. I was so irritated that it was the older students that were making the most racket. They were so loud that I missed 10 minutes of dialogue.

Why is it that we couldn’t sit together as mature adults, watch a film that has one scene with an exposed backside, without reverting to giggling, silly teenagers? Where is the maturity that is supposed to come with age?

I’m beginning to think that maturity is something difficult to obtain. Perhaps it is learned. But if that were the case, then it could be taught. If it could be taught, then it would be learned in schools around the world. There would be textbooks and online courses. So, that must not be the case.

Maybe my definition of maturity isn’t the same as everyone else. Let’s see what Webster’s has to say on the subject:

1 : based on slow careful consideration {a mature judgment}
2 a (1) : having completed natural growth and development : RIPE (2) : having undergone maturation b : having attained a final or desired state {a mature wine} c : having achieved a low but stable growth rate {paper is a mature industry} d : of, relating to, or being an older adult : ELDERLY {airline discounts for mature travelers}
3 a : of or relating to a condition of full development b : characteristic of or suitable to a mature individual {mature outlook} {a show with mature content}
4 : due for payment {a mature loan}
5 : belonging to the middle portion of a cycle of erosion

Well, definition 5 is definitely not the kind of maturity I’m talking about. Let’s just get rid of that one.

And 4, not exactly what I had in mind.

Hmmm, definitions 1 and 3 seem to fit with my ideas of maturity. So, I’m not completely insane. I think the others are just a bonus.

So, how does one become mature? More importantly, how does a mature person teach that maturity to others?

To be honest, I just don’t know.

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One thought on “Age does not equal Maturity

  1. Jana Swartwood says:

    I don’t think maturity can be taught. That isn’t to say that wise advice from others can’t help us on our path to maturity. But I think we are a little like greenhouses. We can provide an inner atmosphere that is conducive to the growth of maturity (and other positive character qualities), or we can maintain an inner atmosphere that fosters the death of maturity. While for some it can come with time or experience, I think you well noted that it can only come when one opens himself up to it.ps. You’d better warn your prof not to show Zeffereli’s Romeo and Juliet….

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