Friday, August 21, 2009

A Midsummer Night's Dream--A Fun Way to Introduce the Littles to the Bard

Hot dogs and hot Shakespeare on a midsummer night. It doesn't get much better than that.

A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of Shakespeare's most colorful, playful and accessible plays for all ages. The fairies, donkey headed boy, madcap mixups and mistaken identies,

and the silly play within a play, make it easy for kids to find humor in the production, even if the language is sometimes difficult to grasp.
This version was especially kid friendly, as Puck was a puppet.We did our homework before hand, reading several versions of the story, specifically for children. The Magic Tree House Series has one book that introduces Shakespeare himself in rehearsals for Midsummer Night. We'd also highly recommend Bruce Coville's version of Midsummer Night's Dream. It helps if children are somewhat familiar with the storyline, before seeing the play, and can clear up questions while you read together. There are a number of kid friendly versions out there.

We were lucky enough to have a close friend involved with Rosebriar Shakespeare Company in the small Ohio town of Groveport, near Columbus. Dani played a hilarious Quince.
We lucked into an outdoor performance where the full moon was visible, over the wooden shack of a stage, long before dusk. Everyone sat on a small hill, and visible to stage left was a cemetery, adding to the ambiance. The closing weekend, they performed in a castle! Midsummer is particularly fun for children, if you can find a production that's running outdoors where kids can picnic and snack. Rosebriar also gave out bubbles to all the kids and encouraged them to blow them during the show. And they gave everyone paper fans, which the kids couldn't wait to have autographed by all the characters. The fans have a special place now among the kids keepsakes.

After the show, we spent the late summer night with our friends, Dani and Tim, who now live in Delaware, OH. Sage promptly fell asleep, but Du-Jay discovered the joys of Wii fit and Guitar Hero.

We have Dani and Tim's old Gamecube, they were awesome enough to share with us. But the novelty of Wii had Du up till 1:30 in the morning cracking up and working out. He was on the floor, laughing at Wii soccer, where characters hurl shoes and panda bear heads at you to dodge.

He took top place in hula hooping, and tried yoga and step aerobics. On the tough balancing games, he shook his fists and said, "OK, TV." and clamoured "One more time." repeatedly. Dani and I drank red wine and enjoyed watching the Dugan show.

The following morning, both kids sang vocals on songs by Phish, Queen, and The Beastie Boys while Tim rocked out on the guitar. Du even tried his hand at bass. Then Tim made us a decadently huge and excellent breakfast, worthy of the 6 hour drive from Chicago.

Thanks for the great hops-spit-tally-tea. We miss you guys!

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