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Home :: Archive :: 1992 :: July ::
Shakespeare for Kids
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 3, No. 170.  Monday, 13 July 1992.
 
From: 		Peter Scott <
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Date: 		Monday, July 13, 1992, 08:14:00 -0400
Subject: 	Mall brushes up Shakespeare in monthlong fest for kids
 
Found on the network:
 
STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (UPI) -- One of young America's favorite
gathering places, a shopping mall, will stage a month-long
Shakespearean festival for children featuring audience
participation, sword fights and instant translation -- ``Good
Morrow'' just means ``Yo, what's up?''
 
Such prestigious Shakespearan institutions as the Stratford
Festival of Canada and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington
will take part in the all-free events July 20-Aug. 16 at Lakeside
Shopping Center in suburban Detroit.
 
``We don't normally travel this far, but this is a very special
case, '' said Lisa Brudy, education assistant for the Stratford
Festival. ``I've never seen anything like this festival.''
 
Karen Mac Donald, Lakeside marketing director who has been working
for months to coordinate the festival, believes it is the
first-of-its- kind in the country.
 
``Sometimes a Shakespearean group will go into a shopping center
and do a show or two, but I don't think there's ever been a
children's festival of this depth and caliber,'' she said.
 
New York actor Steve Andresen said he will bring Shakespeare alive
for the kids by inviting their participation in drama and combat
and in putting the bard's 400-year-old words into modern language.
 
``I want students to know that when a Shakespearean character says
''Good Morrow' it means, 'Yo, what's up?'`` Andresen said.
 
So, when he bellows, ``You beetle-headed, flap-eared knave!'' from
``The Taming of the Shrew,'' he will add such a stage aside as ``In
other words, she's saying, 'You lie like an idiot.'''
 
Andresen and fellow New York actor Cecilia Lucas will peform
Shakespeare in Action, featuring fast-paced scenes from ``Henry
V,'' ``The Taming of the Shrew,'' ``Macbeth,'' ``Romeo and Juliet''
and ``Hamlet'' with heavy doses of slapstick humor and physical
action. Audience volunteers will then recreate the scenes.
 
``We'll throw our young volunteers the lines spontaneously,'' says
Andresen. ``Some will be costumed, and they'll act out the
physicality, bits of 'comedia del arte.' In one instance we will
build one boy into playing Romeo in the fight scene from 'Romeo and
Juliet.'''
 
The actors will do the fight scene first themselves and then freeze
the action, bring a student on stage, and then go back and show how
the fight is put together, blocked and directed, Andresen said.
 
``We actually draw the lines and put the child into the
choreography,'' Andresen said. ``Everyone learns how Shakespeare is
done on stage as opposed to in the book.
 
``It's important that students be exposed to Shakespeare in an
active sense,'' he said. ``There are big ideas in his plays and
that challenges them to think bigger ideas, rather than only things
that are close to their experience.''
 
Other highlights include two renditions of ``A Midsummer Night's
Dream,'' one in sign language with a speaking narrator and the
other with a speaking cast and a signed narrator. One of the
actors, Donald Lyons, is a former Los Angeles Lakers basketball
player and winner of gold and silver medals at three Deaf Olympics.
 
There also will be a puppet show where children can interact with
the puppets, participatory Elizabethan dance games, a ``Dress up
Your Shakespeare'' costuming workshop and two Renaissance knot
gardens with plants arranged in the intricate knot-like designs
popular at Shakespeare's time.
 
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