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Midsummer Night's Dream and Dale and Zara in Boston - Mo's Journal
February 18th, 2009
11:14 am

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Midsummer Night's Dream and Dale and Zara in Boston
This past weekend was the Last Shakespeare Festival. Well, not the last Shakespeare festival in the world, or even the last one at Middle School 51, but the last time I have a kid in a play in the Shakespeare Festival at MS 51. I'm sad to see that chapter in my life end! This drama program has been totally wonderful for all three of my kids. Regardless of what they do in life, the skills they acquired will serve them well throughout their adult lives. For more on MS 51's drama program and its wonderful director, see this post.

The play was Midsummer Night's Dream and it was excellent. They did it in Indian themed costumes with Indian backdrop and the bows were done to the song and dance at the end of Slumdog Millionaire. There were 5 performances in 2 days. Zara was Titania in one cast and a fairy in the others. As always, I was very impressed with the skill and the professionalism of the cast. Truly, before my kids were in this program I would have thought it unlikely that a middle school could put on Shakespeare at all. A lot of middle schools don't even read Shakespeare. And in my day, the chances were pretty much nil that 13-year-olds would put on a play that requires kissing and lines like "Methought I was enamour'd of an ass" and "o will I grow, so live, so die, my lord, Ere I will yield my virgin patent up Unto his lordship, whose unwished yoke
My soul consents not to give sovereignty" without either snickering or flinching. But John McEneny demands professionalism and the troupe delivers it, at least in the final production (I hear there's plenty of flinching and snickering during rehearsals).

In addition to acting, Zara helped with sewing costumes and choreography. I'm including a few pictures of her (she's in blue as Titania and purple as a fairy). I didn't take the ones with the inaccurate dates.









Early Sunday morning Zara and I left for a few days in Boston. I had gotten us a great price at the Hyatt Regency on priceline, and with megabus we could go there for 12 r/t each. It's school vacation for her and I had Monday off anyway, so for the price of one vacation day, we got a mini-vacation. We saw less of Boston and more of the hotel and friends, but that was fine, too. Zara and I spent a lot of time in the pool and the exercise room; I let her watch whatever junk tv she wanted to; I had a massage (they wouldn't let her have one, even with me offering to sign a release and/or stay in the room). And we got to see my friend Laurie, who lives in Gloucester, Mass and came in Sunday and stayed overnight with us.

The bus went smoothly and we met up with Laurie on Sunday afternoon. We hung out in the hotel for the afternoon (poor Laurie had barely slept the night before, so she napped while we swam) and then had dinner in a nice Indian restaurant with a big screen showing dance sequences from Bollywood movies, which was a good diversion for Zara as Laurie and I gabbed. We came back and watched tv in bed and went to sleep.

In the morning, Zara and I got up and headed for the Museum of Science, saying our good byes to Laurie, little knowing we'd see her again :-). We had a great time at the museum, particularly enjoying the Mythical Creatures, Mathematica, and Optical Illusions exhibit. Zara loved standing with one foot in Cambridge and one in Boston. We learned a lot in the planetarium show "What Happened to Pluto?" and the 3D movie "Sharks." We were there for five hours and we were pretty much museumed out at that point, but there was plenty more to see.

So we went back to the hotel for more swimming, tv, and hanging out. And we got to meet Laurie's newish boyfriend , because he had come into town to meet up with Laurie. He's very nice and very good looking in kind of a Harrison Ford sort of way. But he had no idea what Wi-fi is, truly!


Laurie and Peter drove us to Brookline and dropped us off at Rubin's Deli, where met up with the Boston contingent of my main parenting list. Nineteen of us showed up - 11 kids and 8 parents. It was fun, although with so many people and two long tables, it wasn't the best opportunity to visit with folks other than whoever you ended up seated next to. After dinner we went swimming again, and then Zara watched more tv and I read.

Yesterday we woke up late, I had a massage, we did a little shopping (Zara got new sneakers, which she needed, and some fancy lip gloss, which she wanted) and just walked around a lot. We had a dim sum lunch in Chinatown and headed back home at 4:00.

It was a very nice little getaway.

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From:libgirl
Date:February 19th, 2009 03:46 am (UTC)
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Sounds like a lovely weekend! :D

Also, it's so neat to see kids doing Shakespeare and really doing it--anywhere. I know that in my Junior High and High School, we haven't performed Shakespeare in the past ten years, at least.
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From:mofic
Date:February 19th, 2009 12:24 pm (UTC)
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You can come to it later, but I think that kids who get the Shakespeare "bug" in middle or high school tend to really have it stick.

Of course Zara, being the youngest, has been dragged along :-) to Shakespeare since she was quite little. When she was 8 or 9 we went to Hamlet. It was a little over her head so I tried to give her a bit of an intro before it started. She said "It sounds like the Lion King." So I said yes, but it's the other way around - the Lion King is based on Hamlet, not Hamlet on the Lion King.

So all was well until the penultimate scene when she whispered to me in this voice of agony, "But Hamlet can't die!" I told her that, unfortunately, in grownup plays sometimes the hero does die. In our family now when someone realizes some sad truth we always say "But Hamlet can't die!"
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From:libgirl
Date:February 20th, 2009 04:38 am (UTC)
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I hadn't ever really thought of The Lion King that way before ~thinks~, that's really cool!

I watched a whole special on PBS at some point about a teacher who started teaching Shakespeare to students in the second or third grades--they performed it every single year and the reasons he gave for doing it. It was phenomenal documentary and the impact on the students was really visible. He also did it with his entire class--there was no tracking at that age. :)

"But Hamlet can't die!" That's something (the sentiment) I say enitrely too often. :D
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:February 20th, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC)
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I did know before that that Lion King is based on Hamlet, but I was surprised she made the connection. Although perhaps knowing it and knowing she liked Lion King I emphasized the points of similarity without realizing I was doing so.
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