It’s not easy to count how many guest stars have been on Sesame Street, but it’s very easy to realize that every last one of them has brought something unique to the show over the years as they’ve been called to perform with the cast, or even on their own as Patrick Stewart did in this Shakespearean explanation of the letter B. Some might have thought that the classically-trained actor would have made too dry of an act for kids to follow, and it’s easy to think that younger kids might not have fully understood the meaning behind the skit, but it’s still enjoyable since Stewart has long since perfected his act and is able to control his ability and is able to speak to kids without being condescending in his delivery. Seriously, one could almost call his manner playful in this clip, and while he’s decked out in full costume and could have gone on and on, he kept things neat and to the point concerning the letter, which is definitely a plus when playing to children.
There’s no need to dumb things down for kids all the time since children are smarter than people give them credit for quite often and they are able to grasp certain concepts even if they comprehend everything just yet. Plus, if one really thinks about it, Patrick Stewart could be used as a means of inspiration for many people since his career has spanned for decades now, and many people have grown up watching him in one performance or another. To think that some of the greatest actors, directors, and writers have used him as inspiration is quite easy since he’s been a very engaging actor to watch over the years and has accomplished a great deal with his time in the business.
Let’s be honest and say that a lot of kids would not get much out of Shakespeare if given the original version of each piece of writing that the famed bard ever created. But in this manner, with Patrick playing it off in a way that kids can identify with and understand, it’s very easy to grasp the gravity of the act and what the actor is getting at. The connection between Hamlet and Sesame Street might not come as quickly as some might think, but the act is still impressive since it’s a way to slowly and with great respect introduce children not only to the alphabet but to something else that they might find interesting as well. Shakespeare is kind of an acquired taste when it comes to literature as many people might agree. The importance of his writings can’t be downplayed since they’ve influenced a great deal of entertainment and pop culture over the years, but the old style in which Shakespeare operated was, well, a little dry for some even if he did produce several legendary tales. It’s entirely possible to like and respect Shakespeare’s works in a peripheral manner while not ascribing to the actual works in their entirety, and this is a big part of what makes this skit work in such a great way.
Kids don’t have to understand Hamlet to get that Stewart is explaining something that will help them learn. They don’t have to run through the entire play to get the idea of the short monologue, and that’s great. Some actors might not wish to do something like this either because they think it’s beneath them (hopefully not), or because they’re simply not interested. But one thing that many actors have shown over the years, whether it’s real or not, is that they’re willing to help out when it comes to the education of children. The statement that ‘children are our future’ is still very real and isn’t just a snappy catchphrase that’s used to make people feel good about themselves. There is a lot of truth to the words and as Patrick Stewart and many others have shown by coming to Sesame Street as guests is that they do care in some way about the youth of this country and many others when it comes to their education.
The inspiration that many upon many kids the world over can take from this is that people do care about them, even if they’ve never met them, and they are willing to invest in the education of children in some way. It’s a very altruistic goal that doesn’t always feel possible, but educating children, not just in one country but in many, has always been a goal of Sesame Street, and is a goal that has been picked up by many actors worldwide. A lot of people use different methods to do this, but with his style of acting and his ability to speak to pretty much anyone he needs to, Patrick Stewart has proven more than once that he’s the type of actor that can and will help out where he can.