William Shakespeare--Celebrating 400 Years: 1616-2016
Shakespeare School Tour: Spring 2016
In spring of 2016, the Ohio State University Department of Theatre presented a touring production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as a part of the ongoing partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company. This 75-minute production was an excellent opportunity for children of all ages to experience Shakespeare for the first time.
Taking on this meta-theatrical masterpiece was no small feat for the energetic group of undergraduates who embraced the slapstick aspect of the work with gusto, many of them playing hand held instruments to underscore the comedy and to see the tone for the confused young lovers of the story. Eric Brinkman (PhD student) served as dramaturg and created a teaching guide for all the schools.
Directed by Melissa Lee, eleven undergraduate students opened this abridged version of the famous, rollicking comedy that features the infamous Rude Mechanicals at the Lincoln Theatre downtown in early February, before taking it on tour. Our cast and stage management team took the piece to 15 schools in the greater Columbus area. These schools ranged from elementary to high school, exposing children ages 8 to 18 to Shakespeare’s work. After each performance, the actors would gather the students into groups and lead workshops based on text from the play.
This production initiated the Department of Theatre commemoration of four centuries of Shakespeare. In fall 2016 we follow with two Shakespeare plays--Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet--to continue this celebration.