All the world’s a stage,” wrote William Shakespeare, who died 400 years ago this week.
The Royal Shakespeare Company has invited schools across the country to perform the nation’s favourite Shakespeare play to get involved in the anniversary.
Tomorrow evening (Thursday), as part of activities to mark the bard’s death, Beacon Academy in Crowborough is inviting you to go along and watch A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Set designers, sound and lighting technicians have transformed the main hall into an enchanted forest – with tree stumps, toadstools and a woodland glade, cloaked in a green mist. This afternoon there was a special matinée performance for local primary schools.
Just before the audience started arriving, Kirsty Gandar (Year 11), who plays the Queen of the Fairies, described to plot:[audio:Midsummer Nights Dream synopsis.mp3]
Henry Childs (Year 7) who plays Tom Snout, one of the “mechanicals” of Athens, described how the cast have been meeting since January to perform scenes from the play, but a couple of week’s ago they met after school on consecutive nights to rehearse more intensively.
Director Mrs Marshall, one of the drama teachers at Beacon Academy, explained Shakespeare coined many popular phrases and clichés that are still commonly used today, such as hobnob (Twelfth Night) and Knock knock! Who’s there? (Macbeth) and green-eyed monster (Othello). The students have compiled a display showing some of the most popular ones:
She was immensely proud of the students. They’ve worked incredible hard to perform at a professional standard.
The other day the children were wondering about the language William Shakespeare used and why a lot was written in rhyme:
The higher your class the more likely you were to use rhyme. Whereas Bottom and his fellow tradesmen in the ‘rude mechanicals’ used the more common tongue of the day.
We also looked at how language and dialects have transferred in the modern-day, with northerners like myself pronouncing ‘class’ and ‘bath’ with short vowels, whereas they speak slightly differently, and how this impacts on the English language.
She explained it wasn’t until drama school when Shakespeare was brought to life for her:
[audio:Mrs Marshall Shakespeare.mp3]
Tomorrow evening’s performance starts at 7pm. Tickets priced £4.00 are available on the door. If you’d like a funny photo to remember the evening you can stick your head through the hole and have your picture taken as Bottom or the Queen of the Fairies.