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Valley Focus | Studio City

Youngsters Showcase Devotion to the Bard

January 31, 1998|TOM BECKER

The third- and fourth-graders at Carpenter Avenue Elementary School have a new favorite author--William Shakespeare.

And on Friday they pledged their love to him by performing scenes from "A Midsummer Night's Dream," an unusual selection for elementary schoolchildren.

It wasn't easy, though.

The performance came after months of preparation and rehearsals.

"Shakespeare isn't the easiest, so it took some work," said Kevin Cottrell, a third-grade teacher at the school who introduced Shakespeare to her class last year.

She said after studying Shakespeare, several students decided it wasn't enough just to read his works; they needed to act them out. After all, the works were plays.

"I never thought they'd get so excited about Shakespeare, but they absolutely love him," Cottrell said.

So that is how a bunch of 8-, 9- and 10-year-olds wound up walking the school hallways, mumbling lines to themselves, trying to remember where all the "thous" and "shants" go in Shakespeare's tale of forest fairies performing their own play.

Proud relatives and friends were among those attending the students' dress rehearsals.

The auditorium's stage took on the appearance of an ancient forest, and the actors were clad in tights and tunics straight from Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

"I am so proud of them," Cottrell said. "They are better than I could have imagined. It's like a professional play."

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