The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2134 Friday, 25 October 2002
Date: Thursday, 24 Oct 2002 16:03:50 -0300
Subject: Teenagers and Shakespeare
The subject of teenagers doing Shakespeare still seems to crop up on
this List, so I would like to make a few remarks from experience.
Shakespeare and Co, of Lennox MA, USA, has for sometime done a High
School Shakespeare Festival. People from their company go out into the
field and direct Shakespeare in High Schools. They come together every
year to put on a huge festival of High School productions in the middle
of the winter.
The year I did it, I had great trepidation. The managers of the program
were quite confident however and with training and guidance we were able
to get a little less than half the cannon on stage that year. They were
doing it every year and I believe still do. Usually there are two
directors for every production and the direction of the students is
organized around exercises and specific directing techniques. The
product was a success and I was very surprised. The Shakespeare & Co.
schools program really works.
In the year I did it, many of the high schools had done the program
before and had experienced students in their productions. This helped
immensely. I directed, with the help of two other directors, Two Gents
of Verona. It is a difficult piece to produce, and long discussions
about the nature of rape were necessary to decide on the approach the
production would take. The result was very entertaining and complex for
a play I had no confidence in, originally. This school, however, had the
advantage of an experienced student body that had done Shakespeare
before and knew what to expect. Several of the students