Shakespeare is no longer just in the realm of seasoned festivarians and elaborate theater productions. On Tuesday, parents, grandparents, friends, community members and all Breckenridge Elementary classes and teachers gathered in the school's auditorium to enjoy a production of "The Tempest," by William Shakespeare.
Fortunately for the actors and those in attendance, it was actually a version of the play by Lois Burdett entitled "The Tempest for Kids," as part of her "Shakespeare Can Be Fun" series, allowing everyone a little better understanding of the romantic and magical 1623 Shakespearean production.
The play opens with a short introduction by Shakespeare himself (or, herself in this case), played by Taylor Ash, and is narrated throughout the numerous scenes by Dana Badwan, Jacque Tatro, Lucy Fielder, Elizabeth Pfau, Isabella Henry and Jaden Blackwell, whose expert reading helped the audience stay with the script.
Director and Breck elementary second-grade teacher Elizabeth Mesick was the driving force behind the production. According to Mesick's husband, Paul, she and the children had been rehearsing every Tuesday night for several months.
"You have to try out for it, and these kids have been practicing all year long," said parent volunteer Kelly Ash, whose daughter played Shakespeare. "It's a collection of third through fifth graders."
"We're very excited about it," Paul Mesick said, as Mrs. Mesick was busy ensuring things went off without a hitch. "It's something she's been talking about for a while."
Mesick said the kids did everything themselves, from building props and sets to lighting and production. And, according to the play's program, almost all sets, props and costumes were made from repurposed materials, making this a "green" Shakespeare production. Set, prop and lighting design was by Izzy Lawson and Dylan Parmley.
The crew made special mentionof the fact that many of the costumes, as well as the texts, were donated by Dr. Jackie Truckey. Truckey is a fervent Shakespeare lover, and the materials will stay in the possession of the school's Shakespeare Club. This was the club's first performance.
The large cast was clearly practiced and showed an enthusiasm for the material that kept the audience captivated. Cast included: Audrey Buller as Prospero; Kait Shultz as Ariel; Calliope Cortright as Miranda; Sadie Schroder as Ferdinand; Sage Sanders as Caliban; Austin Parmley as Trinculo; Madelaine Johnson as Stephano; Hunter Stimson as King Alonso; Jacque Tatro as Sebastian; Kobe Cortright as Gonzalo; Elizabeth Pfau as Boatswain; Jaden Blackwell as Master and Dana Badwan and Madelaine Johnson as Spirits.
In the end this all-school assembly delighted attendees and left people looking forward to next year's Shakespeare Club performance, which will have a video team that creates a film of the play.