I’m a big fan of taking children to see live theater. There’s an inherent excitement in watching real people on stage—people cemented in the moment that we’re sharing with them even as they move us beyond the limits of our own experiences. Even very young children respond to that magic.

When my daughter Clara was five, I took her to see Agatha Christie’s classic Spider’s Web at South Bend Civic Theatre, one of the top dozen community theaters in the country. We’d been to many children’s shows together, but this was our first grown-up gig. Would she last through two whole hours, I wondered, or would I have to bundle her out at intermission?

I shouldn’t have worried.

My kindergartner sat remarkably still in the darkened theater. Her eyes bright with the reflected stage lights and her mouth slightly open, she seemed transfixed by Christie’s mysterious antique dealers, foreign diplomats, and port-drinking country squires.

Toward the end of the first act, I leaned over and whispered, a little apprehensively, “Do you understand what’s happening?”

Clara shook her head: a definite no. With her eyes still riveted to the stage, she whispered back, raptly, “But I love it!”

So did I.