Students get exciting glimpse of Shakespeare's world

Mar 16 2010 - 10:07pm

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(MATTHEW HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner) Labries Owens (left) and Kyler Longmire, both student volunteers, hold up signs during a production of 'Macbeth' by The Globe Trotterz, a touring troupe of young Shakespearean actors, at Hold Elementary School in Clearfield on Tuesday.
(MATTHEW HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner) Labries Owens (left) and Kyler Longmire, both student volunteers, hold up signs during a production of 'Macbeth' by The Globe Trotterz, a touring troupe of young Shakespearean actors, at Hold Elementary School in Clearfield on Tuesday.

CLEARFIELD -- A clever mix of old English, with an energetic dash of March Madness, appears to be the recipe for success in offering area school children insights on famous playwright William Shakespeare.

The Theatre Arts Conservatory in Salt Lake City, under the sponsorship of the Davis Arts Council, took its show "Shakesitement: Tired of Being Bard?" on the road Tuesday to Holt Elementary School in Clearfield.

Holt is one of 18 schools in Davis School District scheduled for the DAC's annual Active Stages program.

The performance, simplifying "Macbeth" and "Romeo and Juliet," both works of Shakespeare, by using as a backdrop a basketball game to get students to participate, seemed to capture the attention of school administrators and students alike.

"It was cool. I didn't know (Shakespeare) wrote 36 plays," said Holland Summerhays, a Holt Elementary fifth-grader.

"The only thing I knew about Shakespeare (before Tuesday's production) is that he wrote 'Romeo and Juliet,'" she said.

Fifth-grader Josh Howe said he was impressed at how the performers used basketball to share their information.

"It was pretty awesome," Howe said.

"I didn't know what to expect," Holt Elementary Principal Judy Nixon said.

The theater students performed two plays at the elementary school Tuesday, one production for students in kindergarten through third grade, the other for students in fourth through sixth grades.

Nixon said she attended the first show and the kindergarten students were mesmerized by the performance.

"It was just a great introduction to Shakespeare," she said.

"They put that together so cleverly," Nixon said.

What made the play so successful, Nixon said, is the young cast had interaction with the audience, and part of that interaction included sports.

"Most of the elementary kids love basketball," she said.

DAC Executive Assistant Heather Hendrix said because of grant money received this year, the organization more than doubled its total number of performances over last year.

Last year's Active Stages production was "I Never Saw Another Butterfly," a Holocaust drama. That production was performed in eight Davis-area schools.

Since 2008, the DAC has combined efforts with the Theatre Arts Conservatory group to take a production free of charge to as many elementary and junior high schools in the county as possible, DAC Executive Director Kirt Bateman said.

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