Sunday, July 15, 2001
Shakespeare teaches Palm Coast what children these theater fans be
By PATRICK WRIGHT | News-Journal Staff Writer
DAYTONA BEACH — While performing Shakespeare can intimidate the most veteran actors, it didn't phase a group of pre-teen thespians Saturday. The acting troupe entertained parents and children with its production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Palm Coast Community Center Park.
The play was jazzed up a bit with songs and dances to keep from boring children. The changes went over well with their intended audience.
"I thought is was funny and cool the way they did it," said Emily Feinberg, 10, of Palm Coast. "They made it more realistic at some times. I liked it all."
The performance was part of the city's "Shakespeare in the Park" festival, where families not only could watch the play but also could watch youngsters show off their martial arts prowess, get a caricature drawing, dine on candy and hot dogs and try to win prizes. The play was done in a week by THEATERiffic Children's Theater, which puts on a play each week during its four-week summer program.
THEATERiffic's administrative director founded the organization six years ago because of all the positive traits she feels children can gain through theater.
"The theater does amazing things for children's self- esteem and it gives them team leadership and disci pline," said Director Carol Bailey. She said these traits help prepare "young people for the world we live in."
It was also a chance for co-sponsor Flagler Teen Center to get out its anti-smoking message.
"We wanted to start this because we believe that if you keep kids busy, they aren't going to be able to smoke," said Teen Center Director Denise Calderwood.
The troupe put on shows at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to more than 100 people in attendance. Parents liked both the production and the chance to get involved in community affairs.
"I like that the kids all got together and did something like this," said Pete Roussell, 41, of Palm Coast. "I heard about it and decided to bring my daughter down."
One actor liked performing in the play, but had his own critique of the author.
"I liked the costumes, the dancing, the music, everything," said Sean Bennett, who played the Fairy King, Oberon. However, he said learning Shakespeare was difficult because "he uses really weird words."
Although most at the festival were from Palm Coast, it drew an audience from around the country.
"I like it better than Sacramento (Calif.)," said Nefertiti Khemet, 11, who was visiting her grandmother. "There are much more things, like this play, to go to."
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