Monday, July 25, 2011

Studio Project: Kids Love Shakespeare

Who’da thought Shakespeare could touch the imagination of a 4 year old? Here is a little story about "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

While I was waiting for my granddaughter at school, I chatted with a young woman, who was a sitter for one of the kids. I discovered she was a drama major. When I asked her who her favorite playwright was, she replied, “Shakespeare.” 

A mother sitting nearby, mentioned that kids naturally speak in iambic pentameter. She felt they would love Shakespeare’s rhymes. She explained that she was in fact, a Shakespeare scholar, and had been studying Shakespeare’s life and work for many years. She thought kids would enjoy discovering Shakespeare’s plays. We spoke about how parents might introduce Shakespeare's plays to their young children. She suggested they could memorize part of a Shakespeare speech. I was intrigued.

Afterwards, my granddaughter and I headed for our weekly visit to the Ottendorfer New York Public Library. We went into the children's reading room and asked the librarian if she could find us a book of Shakespeare’s plays, perhaps as stories. She found the perfect book,  “A Midsummer Night’s Dream," and we sat down to read it.

Here is how it begins:
People love certain people but cannot tell them. They go to the woods where fairies live. There is a fairy queen and a fairy king who enchant things. There is a flower with a magic love potion. If the potion is put on the eyelids of a sleeping person, they will love the first person they see when they awake. We stopped reading here, before we reached the part about the lovers' silly mix-ups.

Soon, it was time to head for home and Mom. Outside, it was raining lightly. My granddaughter was tucked into her stroller under a plastic rain shield. Suddenly she poked her head out, and said, “Nana, if I had a love potion, I would put it on Mama’s eyes, and when she woke up she would see me and love me forever.”

Who’da thought?

Project: "The Love Potion," based on "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

 Make a "magic" flower out of some paper and a few pipe cleaners. Find some silky scarves, a tutu, and some fairy's wings. (Believe it or not, some kids have them.) Let your child dress-up as a fairy. Put the flower in a vase. Make a drawing of "the woods." Put it near the flower. Let your child create a story about fairies and people who wander in the woods and find a 
magic flower. Use drawings to help you tell the story.

Here is a link to a nice site called: "Kids Love Shakespeare."

Links to things "Shakespeare:" 

This link will give you a scene-by-scene description of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Royal Shakespeare Company Theater at the Park Avenue Armory

Below is the theater the Royal Shakespeare Company is building for its Festival at the Park Avenue Armory. The Festival will present of five of Shakespeare's plays and a number of seminars and talks in July and August 2011.

The drill hall of the Park Avenue Armory today becomes a new stage for the Royal Shakespeare Company as it begins performances for its five week residency.

“King Lear,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Julius Caesar,” “As You Like It” and “The Winter’s Tale” will be performed in repertory throughout the run, which ends Aug. 14.

See the performance calendar for precise matinee and evening dates.

The 41-member troupe will perform on a full-scale replica of its Stratford-upon-Avon stage.

$25 rush seats will be available each week through an online lottery that opens Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and closes Thursdays at 11:59 p.m.

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