Kids Doing Shakespeare Unrehearsed

Sep. 15, 2016
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unrehearsed shakespeare

An old (now retired) theater critic for the Milwaukee daily once lamented that people who weren’t specifically trained to be Shakespearian professionals were allowed to perform for audiences. I might have some of the specifics of his opinion wrong, (it’s been a while,) but his whole point was that it’s very difficult stuff to do and if audiences go and see people who aren’t experienced enough with the material, they might run the risk of not appreciating it...thinking that Shakespeare’s work wasn’t all that good because it wasn’t delivered to the stage all that well.

I disagree. If Shakespeare’s stuff is solid enough that it can withstand being put behind velvet ropes and sterilized in so many museum/mausoleum theater spaces with professional actors, then it can certainly live-up to living, breathing amateurs just learning to relate to the stage for the first time. That’s why it’s fascinating watching high school kids doing Shakespeare onstage. There’s that freshness of perspective. To them it’s capable of being so much more than something that should be held at a distance. They haven’t learned the full gravity of the genius everyone seems to weigh Shakespeare down with. They can wrestle with it  in a way that professionals never seem to be able to do. 

So it’s really cool that Homestead High School’s Drama Club is going to be performing Shakespeare Unrehearsed--one of Shakespeare’s plays entirely fresh next week. Here’s the idea: kids take an intensive series of workshops Sep. 12 - 16. After a total of 15 hours together under the watch of a couple of directors, they all get cast in a show that will be performed on Saturday, Sep. 17 at 7:00 p.m. 15 hours of preparation. They’ve got 25 hours from the end of their last class to the opening of the show, which hits the stage once before vanishing forever. It’s the ephemeral essence of theater reflected in a cast of kids just learning where all the exits are. I really like the immediacy of that. 

For more information as it becomes available, visit the show’s Facebook events page. 

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