Childhood memories are filled with theatres full of drama and music. Campuses with the most assorted colors, and hedges perfectly trimmed. In all reality, we probably didn’t go all that much, and other than The Nutcracker and Oklahoma, I can’t remember the specifics of many of the productions I saw. However, I am eternally grateful for being introduced to such things at an early age.
Shakespeare, while a classic, is often intimidating. Not just to the actors – can I possibly do this iconic role justice?! – but also to the viewer if their ear isn’t adeptly trained to Shakespearean speech. A few tips for beginners? Always get good seats so that you can see all interactions in case you get lost in the dialogue, and reading a Googled kid’s summary of the play beforehand can help immensely (even for adults) if you’re not familiar with the story line.
During their 2019 spring season, the University of Oklahoma’s theatre department’s production of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was cleverly portrayed in the round with an audience on three sides. They transformed the stage, made out of weathered, shipwrecked looking-wood and complete with a small wading pool, into assorted patios, gardens, and of course the initial scene’s ship itself.
The actors of various ages and credits had a lot of passion in the roles they played and spoke as if the Shakespearean tongue was what they used daily. The fool, played by Micah Weese, who you may have seen in the role of Ebeneezer Scrooge in the school’s previous production of A Christmas Carol, commonly stole the show with his dry wit and wide range of facial expressions. Surprisingly, due to the intentionally confusing nature of the plot, this was a production enjoyed by an audience of all ages. In fact, the two tiny humans under the age of 12 sitting in my row, intricately described all the relationships between characters to me at the intermission, as well as commenting that it was “super funny” and they’d definitely go to a Shakespeare play again.