First, the Bard's birthday is coming up, and I always remember it because it's close to mine. His is April 23, mine is April 26. Of course, his birth was 450 years ago, so he's got a few years on me. (Not that I'm telling how many!)
Second, I just signed my daughter up for a session of the Riotous Youth camp at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox. She did a session last summer and loved it, and I have to admit it was pretty funny hearing a monologue from "Twelfth Night" coming out of the mouth of a 7-year-old.
Third, since said daughter has been bitten by the Shakespeare bug, she also is auditioning for the new "Shakespeare in the Park" series at Springside Park in Pittsfield this summer. If she ends up in the play it would be particularly meaningful for me, as I grew up in Pittsfield, across the street from Springside Park, and spent many happy and carefree hours frolicking in the park.
And fourth, Shakespeare is my family fun pick of the weekend. Because yes, Shakespeare and kids can and do go together.
Shakespeare & Company in Lenox is kicking off a run of its annual “Shakespeare and the Language that Shaped a World” event at 2 p.m. this Saturday, April 5. This is a whirlwind tour through the life, times and work of the Bard that features six actors, a few props, a truck-load of historical information, popular misinformation and scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. This hysterical, fast-paced presentation is designed to introduce kids and adults to Shakespeare through his stories, characters and words—with a bit of sword-fighting and clowning thrown in for good measure.
All “Shakespeare and the Language that Shaped a World” presentations are followed by a hands-on workshop during which audience members will get their own shot at playing with scenes from "A Midsummer Nights Dream" - which incidentally is the play my daughter will learn at Riotous Youth this summer and the play being performed at Shakespeare & Company.
My husband, daughter and I went to see “Shakespeare and the Language that Shaped a World” two years ago when my daughter was 6, and she loved it, though I think older kids get a little more out of it. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for adults, with a maximum admission fee of $30 per family (up to six people per family discount). Tickets are available the day of the presentation, or in advance from the box office at 413-637-3353 or shakespeare.org.
Shakespeare not your thing? Sorry to hear that - but Saturday morning is the first Saturday of the month, which means its Kids Workshop Day at Home Depot, meaning you can take the kids to the Pittsfield or Bennington, Vt., between 8 a.m. and noon to let them hammer away at a cool project. There are also a couple of high school musicals this weekend that should be lively enough to entertain the kids: "Grease" at Mt. Everett and "Dames at Sea" at Wahconah Regional.
And maybe, just maybe, this will be the first weekend of real spring weather ... so get out and enjoy it!
“Four days will quickly steep themselves in nights;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time.”
Rebecca Dravis is the community editor at iBerkshires. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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