The Norman Transcript


May 3, 2012

Student group brings the Bard to McKinley Elementary School

NORMAN — Most K-12 students study Shakespeare in high school, but thanks to a troupe of McKinley Elementary thespians, the school has not only been introduced to the bard’s stories but also gets to see them fully staged.

After successfully producing “As You Like It” last semester, the McKinley Elementary Young Shakespeareans will perform this semester’s opus, “Romeo and Juliet,” at 1:30 p.m. May 10 in the gymnasium for the student body and visitors.

Shakespeare’s Early Modern English might seem a bit ambitious for second through fifth graders, but the Young Shakespeareans have spent four months memorizing and practicing excerpts from the original text, as edited by director and artist in residence Cynthia Hudson Reed.

In addition to the text, Reed also incorporated theatrical symbolism in her stage directions, costuming Montagues in blue, Capulets in red and neutral characters in neutral colors, directing the opposing families to enter from opposite sides of the stage.

In the interest of keeping the performance appropriate for young viewers, the play’s tragic ending has been revised with something more light-hearted.

In spite of its challenges, students agreed that the benefits of participating in Young Shakespeareans are many and varied.

“Shakespeare Club is one of the best experiences I have ever had because it gives me a chance to act in front of an audience,” said Sami Barker, who is working as the play’s student director and appears onstage as a watchman and Verona citizen.

Cast members Jonah O’Hara-David (Paris) and Gwyneth Atkinson (Lady Capulet) agreed.

“I think it’s a great challenge to be a person you aren’t and also memorize lines,” O’Hara-David said.

“(Studying Shakespeare in elementary school) builds good vocabulary and exposes kids to literature,” Atkinson said.

One advantage of gaining a Shakespearean vocabulary, the group said, is to tease or insult their peers without their understanding, using names such as “applejohn” or “knave.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Water carry 5 Water Walk opens discussion about difficulties in obtaining safe H2O

    With large white plastic buckets upon their heads, two gallons of water sloshed to the brim and over the side, but the students trudged on down the South Oval. The farthest feat was to the Seed Sower, and as the sun glared down, heat ...

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Council OKs $48.8M contract for wastewater plant upgrades

    The Norman City Council awarded a $48.8 million project for wastewater treatment plant upgrades Tuesday. The council accepted a $50.3 million low-interest loan from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund....

    April 23, 2014

  • Transportation officials find more cracks in Lexington-Purcell bridge, but repairs on track

    State transportation officials announced Tuesday that additional repairs are needed in at least 96 places on the Lexington-Purcell bridge before it can be opened....

    April 23, 2014

  • Stacy Ford named 2014 Norman schools Teacher of the Year during banquet

    Stacy Ford, Kennedy Elementary librarian, was named 2014 Norman Public Schools Teacher of the Year at the district’s annual Celebration of Excellence banquet Tuesday evening at the National Center for Employee Development....

    April 23, 2014

  • Okla. House defeats bond issue to repair Capitol

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma House has defeated legislation that would authorize up to $160 million in bonds to repair the state’s nearly 100-year-old Capitol....

    April 23, 2014

  • Fallin signs bill for Okla. trooper raises

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Mary Fallin has signed a bill that would give Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers their first pay raise in seven years, although the pay increase won’t come unless money is included in a separate budget proposal....

    April 23, 2014

  • At mudslide scene, Obama mourns with survivors

    OSO, Wash. — Swooping over a landscape of unspeakable sadness and death, President Barack Obama took an aerial tour Tuesday of the place where more than three dozen people perished in a mudslide last month. He pledged a nation’s solidarity ...

    April 23, 2014

  • Blood drive planned Thursday

    Moore Norman Technology Center, 4701 12th Ave. NW in Norman, will host an Oklahoma Blood Institute public blood drive from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday inside room A109 in the main building of MNTC’s Franklin Road campus.  The OBI is in ...

    April 23, 2014

  • Local student to attend arts camp

    Kate Kemmet, 15, of Norman, has been accepted and will attend Interlochen Arts Camp. Kemmet, the daughter of Rob and Lori Kemmet, will study musical theater at the Camp....

    April 23, 2014

  • Coalition seeks more jobs

    A coalition of groups that encourage employment of residents who have disabilities hopes to double the number of placed workers by next fall....

    April 23, 2014