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
  • Body 1 Police identify woman found dead Monday

    Norman police have identified a woman found dead in her home at 2202 Donna Drive Monday afternoon. Police responded at 1:25 p.m. to the residence of Cassandra Thompson, 30, after receiving a report that she had not shown up for work ...

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Residents speak out about document regarding shelter photos

    Norman and metro-area residents showed up in overwhelming numbers, many in red shirts, for an Animal Shelter Oversight Board meeting Monday night demanding for their opinions to be heard....

    July 29, 2014

  • Mixon’s attorney says athlete acted in self-defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon says the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense. “This past Friday morning, Joe Mixon found himself in a situation ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Cool snap brings heat relief to Oklahoma, Arkansas

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The dog days of summer are coming in with a whimper. Weather forecasters say a cold front headed for Oklahoma and Arkansas will bring unseasonably cool temperatures and a chance of rain through next week....

    July 29, 2014

  • Be ready for ‘prolonged’ Gaza war, prime minister says

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Signaling an escalation of Israel’s Gaza operation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis Monday to be ready for a “prolonged” war, and the military warned Palestinians in three large neighborhoods to ...

    July 29, 2014

  • FBI defends search for Oklahoma City bombing video

    SALT LAKE CITY — The FBI thoroughly searched its archives and found no evidence that more videos of the Oklahoma City bombing exist, agency employees told a judge Monday in a trial that has rekindled questions about whether any others were ...

    July 29, 2014

  • County moves forward on nursing home bonds

    Cleveland County commissioners on Monday approved a resolution authoring a county trust to issue up to $15 million for a nursing home on the site of the former Whispering Pines nursing home at 501 E. Robinson St....

    July 29, 2014

  • Deal to improve health care costs $17B

    WASHINGTON — A bipartisan deal announced Monday would authorize about $17 billion to help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat veterans and make it easier to fire executives at the Department of ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Breast Care Center will relocate to HealthPlex

    The Norman Regional Health System will move its Breast Care Center to the HealthPlex campus, making it more accessible for patients, hospital officials said Monday. At its monthly board meeting, the Norman Regional Hospital Authority ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Little Axe Health Center hosting blood drive

    Norman-area blood donors this summer will not only save lives when they donate with Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI), they’ll also get “Feel Cool” T-shirts and two tickets to the Oklahoma City Zoo....

    July 29, 2014