Press Release (ePRNews.com) - HOUSTON - Apr 11, 2018 - This Saturday, April 14th at 2 pm, on the stage at Tanglewood Middle School, you’ll be able to find dozens and dozens of kids loving and performing Shakespeare! Several schools from the Houston Independent School District will be coming together to perform short, melodramatically modified pieces from Shakespeare’s works. Some of the shows they are performing: Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, Macbeth, and Romeo & Juliet. This free festival is open to the public and put on by the elementary theatre teachers of the Houston Independent School District.
This is the first year of this fantastic festival and it came as a group effort from the elementary theater teachers in the school district. Bridget Adams, Sinclair Elementary Theatre teacher, on the impetus of the festival, “We thought, how wonderful would it be to put on a Shakespeare Festival with our students and show the world that our students love Shakespeare!” But, why Shakespeare at such a young age? Gerald Murray, Crespo Elementary Theater teacher explains, “Exposing the students at such a young age to Shakespeare allows the students to appreciate the plays before the fear and dread, often associated with the Bard, is even introduced.”
Each show is about 20 – 25 minutes in length and designed to engage the kids with Shakespeare and drama. All the plays are written to be melodramatic and at a level for the kids to understand. As well, there are several Shakespeare lines sprinkled throughout so the kids get a flavor of The Bard’s language without overwhelming them with the complexity around the language. The playwright, Brendan P. Kelso, said, “If we can get the kids to have a basic understanding of the storylines and characters, then we are successful. Once they realize how great Shakespeare’s stories are, they usually pick up his actual text and start reading it. It’s a wonderful gateway for them to learn about Shakespeare on their own accord.”
Expect to laugh and have a wonderful time. With these plays, the comedies are funny, whereas the tragedies are even funnier. We asked Brendan why the tragedies are typically funnier than the comedies, “Simple. Kids LOVE to melodramatically die on stage. As well, there is usually a villain with swordplay. What a great combination!”
“I have had students tell me, as they start to study Shakespeare later in life, they found it much easier to understand because of these adaptations.”, Gerald said. “The kids are very excited about performing Hamlet. They get a charge when they hear someone quote the play. They’ll say, “I heard someone say “To be or Not to be” on TV last night and that it was from Hamlet! My students have requested a movie night and that we show a movie version of Hamlet. I don’t know of too many elementary school children who request Shakespeare movies.”
The festival is free to the public, just show up with a smile on your face and get ready to laugh and learn about Shakespeare.
To learn more about Shakespeare for Kids melodramatic books, visit their website at PlayingWithPlays.com or contact Brendan directly at Brendan@PlayingWithPlays.com
Playing With Plays