Middle School Explores William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream



Creative Collaboration Between Theatre and Music

While most schools do not begin to look at William Shakespeare until early high school, Conchita Espinosa Academy (CEA) upper school students are not only reading Shakespeare as a class in the eighth grade, but also delving into his life and plays, as early as fifth grade. To further enhance their experience, this year, select students are traveling to Pasadena, California to study Shakespeare in an intensive program at the classical theatre company A Noise Within (founded by CEA class of 1972 alumna, Julia Rodriguez-Elliott). In March, CEA will produce A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in celebration of the 400th year anniversary of the play. It will be produced with a cast of young actors 10 to 14-years old.

The philosophy behind the school’s decision to go forth with a Shakespeare curriculum is consistent with the idea that if kids grow up relating and identifying with Shakespearean text and content from an early age —relating in age-appropriate and appealing ways—, they will be ready to appreciate it on an even deeper level when they are more mature. The fear and intimidation that often comes with the assumption that Shakespeare’s works are innately difficult or enigmatic, will not be present. Once they are past the language barrier that might arise when reading Shakespearean language and they understand what is being said, they enjoy the text and themes tremendously and are able to embody the characters they are playing.

The production is far from traditional; Directed by Ean Kessler, 27-year old playwright, actor, and drama teacher from New York City, who spent a year in England training under Tony nominee Tim Carroll, and teaching and playing the title role of Hamlet in the original Globe Stage itself. Kessler engages students with Shakespearean language, develops their understanding of classical text, and organizes and runs games geared towards putting classical text into the students’ minds and bodies. His first production at CEA will be A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A modern-dress production, music students from the school will play live popular music during the play, enhancing the anachronistic nature of the production and adding to the duality between fantasy and reality by which the play is characterized.

The play will take place on Saturday, March 14th at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at the Rosita Segovia Theatre at Conchita Espinosa Academy: 12975 SW 6th Street, Miami, FL 33184.

Tickets are $20 and will be on sale in advance and at the door. To purchase tickets, please email ichao@conchitaespinosa.com

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