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The Magic of The Bard

That’s why his work survives even today: despite the nearly incomprehensible Elizabethan language, his plays still possess the ability to captivate an eight-year-old!

Well, my eight-year-old, anyway.

Who can resist the capering Fool, the flourishes, the velvet plumed caps? My son may not understand the dialogue, but he recognizes a spectacle when he sees it.

The 6th – 8th graders at our school (a history-focus school) performed “Twelfth Night” this evening, and I gotta tell ya: I am impressed. These kids are what? Twelve to fourteen? They’ve memorized a freaking Shakespearean play! Granted … it’s a condensed version, but I’m impressed.

I loved the skinny adolescent legs in tights, the stage presence of the kids, and (my favorite bit of poetic justice) the majority of girls playing male parts.

Despite a degree in English and a college class in Shakespeare, I’ve never read “Twelfth Night.” I admitted this to my son as we took our seats. His class watched the dress rehearsal yesterday, so he took it upon himself to provide whispered explanations to me this evening: “That’s the Duke.” “That’s Viola. She’s pretending to be a boy.” “Oh, this is my favorite part. Isn’t Sir Toby Belch funny?!”


“Twelfth Night” contains the famous lines “If music be the food of love, play on,” and “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em.”

Who knew?


( 17 inscriptions — Inscribe a note )
Mar. 3rd, 2006 05:58 am (UTC)
awesome! one of my faves!
Mar. 3rd, 2006 06:15 am (UTC)
Oh, you should've seen them, Ceece. I could weep. They were so great in their confidence.
Mar. 3rd, 2006 01:04 pm (UTC)
Inspirational!! (I bet they were so cute!)
Mar. 3rd, 2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
I was amazed.
Mar. 3rd, 2006 01:46 pm (UTC)
Very cool! Terrific son! :D
Mar. 3rd, 2006 08:36 pm (UTC)
He's good company!
Mar. 3rd, 2006 02:34 pm (UTC)
My daughters high school drama group is performing Twelfth Night this spring. She said there are sooooo many kids interested in trying out for it - due in part to an excellent Shakespeare teacher! His classes are always full.

I'm so looking forward to seeing it!
Mar. 3rd, 2006 08:36 pm (UTC)
Do they let the kids cross genders in the casting?
Mar. 3rd, 2006 09:39 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure they do - this is High School level.

Oh, wait! I remember now . . . there was another Shakespeare in which a man had to play a woman in a play (within the play) and they let him. It was actually quite comical and that young man was extremly proud of the audiences response. I think it was Midsummer Night's Dream.
Mar. 3rd, 2006 03:57 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a wonderful play! And how great to take the intimidation factor of Shakespeare out by kids presenting it to kids.
Mar. 3rd, 2006 08:39 pm (UTC)
I think so, too.

When it's his turn to participate in the plays coming up in the higher grades (an integral part of the school's curriculum) he won't be as intimidated. (I hope.)
Mar. 3rd, 2006 08:14 pm (UTC)
I LOVE Twelfth Night. There's a film version from 1996 which includes Helena Bonham Carter and Ben Kingsley (as Feste, the fool!) I spent a New Year's Eve alone once, watching it, and it was a very nice night indeed (although it sounds rather pathetic, now that I see it spelled out).
Mar. 3rd, 2006 08:39 pm (UTC)
I will Netflix it!
Mar. 4th, 2006 03:23 am (UTC)
The other thing you should netflix is the Reduced Shakespeare Company. I saw this live in London and it is hysterically funny.

Mar. 4th, 2006 03:51 pm (UTC)
And Jessica's massive tongue continues to freak me out.
Mar. 4th, 2006 04:58 pm (UTC)
That's why I use it. Because I know you love it so.
Mar. 4th, 2006 12:37 am (UTC)
yes, it is a lovely piece :)
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