Today I took my Summer Shakespeare Class to the park. I'm teaching this class to a group of 17 homeschoolers, ranging in age from 11-16. Our town has an amazing Woodward Shakespeare Festival group that performs 2 plays in the park every summer. This year they are offering Twelfth Night and Hamlet.
We were fortunate enough to have one of the festival directors invite us to the stage today to assist in our own production of Romeo and Juliet. The director, and his acting partner, played the roles of Romeo and Juliet, and my kids took the remaining roles. They did a condensed version of the play, but it was still complete with costumes and some props. Many of the kids in the class have been in our homeschool group's theater company, so they have a few plays under their belts. But this is Shakespeare and that seems to intimidate a lot of people. Not these kids! They jumped right in, with no previous practicing, and did a fabulous job!
The weather has been less-than-pleasant here lately. The heat is typical, and we're used to that, but the air quality is what's been a killer. Lots of fires in CA and the smoke all settles here in the valley. But today wasn't too bad and we had a nice breeze blowing through the park. When we were done with our version of Romeo and Juliet we had a little time to sit and chat about things Shakespeare.
As a class requirement, everyone has to go and see the 2 Festival productions. So last week we all met at the park (same stage where we held today's class!) and took in Twelfth Night. The kids had all read the play, but there's nothing like seeing it performed. We had the pleasure of having the actor that played Sir Andrew Aguecheek come to our class last week as a guest speaker. It was great for the kids to have that personal connection when they actually saw the play. And we all agreed that Sir Andrew was the BEST!
There's such joy in seeing the kids get fired up over Shakespeare! When our class first started, there were a few who were eager and excited from the get-go, some who were secretly looking forward to the challenge, and others who were convinced they wouldn't like it. I can now say they are all lovers and students of the Bard ... as well being pretty great thespians in their own right!