Tag Archives: shakespeare

JBHS Drama “Midsummer SoCal” Puts Shakespeare On A California Beach

John Burroughs High School Drama presents Midsummer SoCal for three performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 11-13. Written by Ken Ludwig, the play re-tells Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream set at a current-day, Southern California beach.

The story revolves around the impending marriage of the Governor of California, the love affairs of four hormonal beach-bound high school crushes, a lively crew of fairies ready to party and the staff of the local beauty salon trying to put on a play run by Patti Quince and Stylist Nikki Bottom, explained Director Guy Myers.

JBHS Drama presents “Midsummer SoCal” for the Spring 2018 play. (Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama Department)

Oberon, the King of the Fairies, and his sidekick, Puck, show up with a powerful love potion and comedy and mischief ensues.

“This update of Shakespeare’s classic has been so much fun to work on with the students,” commented Myers. “Ken Ludwig wrote this modern update in 2012 and then allowed us to change the setting and references for Southern California in 2018, and the students have had a blast improvising and trying out different lines at each rehearsal.”

midsummer socal

JBHS Drama presents “Midsummer SoCal” for the Spring 2018 play. (Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama Department)

“The farcical style of the show keeps us laughing constantly, and we are looking forward to seeing how the audience responds,” he added. “With musical direction by Andrew Orbison and choreography by Jennifer Stanley, this mini-musical beach party is guaranteed to be a memorable evening good for all ages with plenty of surprises!”

“It’s been so much fun working on this show! Everyone is ridiculously talented and the level of energy each cast member puts into their character is contagious,” said junior Claire Flynn who plays “spoiled, Beverly Hills brat” Mia.

JBHS Drama presents “Midsummer SoCal” for the Spring 2018 play. (Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama Department)

Senior KJ Powell plays Oberon, “King of The Surfer Fairies, respected by everyone on the beach.”

“He’s stylish and carries a lot of swag and loves to get what he wants,” explained Powell. “If a situation doesn’t go his way, he’ll use his charm and right hand man, Puck, to get his way by intimidating his apprentice. He knows what he wants and gets it when he wants it but don’t let him intimidate you because under it all he is as breezy as the ocean.”

Sophomore Eli Staub portrays Puck, “a mischievous fairy who messes up, causing all the wrong things to happen and messing up the plot. It’s a very fun role to play, because as well as acting, there is singing and dancing involved.”

JBHS Drama presents “Midsummer SoCal” for the Spring 2018 play. (Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama Department)

Lyle, one of the misaligned lovers, is played by junior Paris Stacy.

“He’s in love with this girl Mia, but her parents don’t want Lyle to marry her so that have to run to Canada to try and have the wedding,” explained Stacy. “Things get a little complicated once the fairy Puck tricks me into falling in love with Helene, Mia’s best friend.”

“The character is really silly, so I love it,” Stacy added. “He can be really exaggerated, cocky or emotional out of nowhere and it’s just fun to play such a varied character. The play itself is so absurd that it just ends up being a lot of fun to act and that really comes through in everyone’s performance.”

midsummer socal

JBHS Drama presents “Midsummer SoCal” for the Spring 2018 play. (Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama Department)

Midsummer SoCal is such a fun show and is full of energy!” said junior Veronica Haug. “My character, Nikki Bottom, is an obnoxious beautician who absolutely loves being the center of attention and will do pretty much anything to do just that. The whole show is super funny and has so many great scenes!”

JBHS Drama’s Midsummer SoCal runs May 11 and 12 at 7:00 p.m. and May 13 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 for students and seniors and $15 for adults. They can be purchased in advance through jbhsdrama.com or bought at the door.

More information on the JBHS Drama program can be found on their social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram @jbhsdramabackstage or at this link.

JBHS Drama presents “Midsummer SoCal” for the Spring 2018 play. (Photo Courtesy JBHS Drama Department)

Muir Shrew Day Engages Eighth-Graders

Eighth-grade students at John Muir Middle School participated in the fourteenth-annual Shrew Day festivities on Thursday, February 2. Sponsored by the PTSA, Muir Shrew Day was the culmination of four weeks of English class study of William Shakespeare’s comedy The Taming of the Shrew for all 150 students.

Muir Shrew Day began with a shortened performance of The Taming of the Shrew, produced by Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, a professional theatre group located in Topanga Canyon.

“Taming of the Shrew” day at John Muir Middle School in Burbank. (Photo Courtesy Jennifer Moses)

The students then split into groups and 15 actors from the troupe led them through Shakespearian-related workshops on juggling, fencing, scansion (metered poetry typical of the time), Elizabethan song and dance and commedia dell’arte characters (stock characters like the fool, an old man, a peasant.)

Each eighth-grader was able to rotate through three workshops in the morning before breaking for lunch. Then students enjoyed original Shakespeare-related songs played by the Shrew Band.

The two-hour student production of The Taming of the Shrew was a group effort by all eighth-grade students, several PTSA parent volunteers and eighth-grade English teachers Justin Riner, Rod Rothacher, Ted DeVirgilis, Mark Norberg and Steven Moos.

“Taming of the Shrew” day at John Muir Middle School in Burbank. (Photo Courtesy Jennifer Moses)

In preparation for the performance, each English class worked on one of the 17 scenes of the play during class time in the weeks preceding Muir Shrew Day, explained DeVirgilis.

“Students either acted in the scene – complete with costumes by costume/foods teacher, Donna Collier – or help to direct it,” DeVirigilis added. “Language learners and special needs students also acted in the student performance of The Taming of the Shrew.”

“The complex play, in which a domineering Petruchio ‘tames’ a shrewish (read: wild) woman, is also an opportunity for teachers to discuss how the roles of men and women have changed over the centuries,” DeVirgilis went on to say.

“Although the play has been called misogynistic by a few critics, Kate, the shrew, delivers the most powerful lines of the play: ‘My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart, concealing it, will break. I will be free as I please in words.'”

“Students are better for analyzing and reciting the words of William Shakespeare,” he said.

“Taming of the Shrew” day at John Muir Middle School in Burbank. (Photo Courtesy Jennifer Moses)

“Students had a blast speaking the words of ‘The Bard’ and seeing their friends dressed up in Elizabethan garb,” DeVirigilis added. “Following the performance, students had a chance to ‘Win Dr. Miller’s Money’ if they could answer trivia questions on Shakespeare and Elizabethan life.”

The John Muir PTSA supplied all the funding to bring in the Will Geer professional and teaching artists.

“The eighth grade English teachers at Muir are proud that the thousands of students who have gone through our school over the past fourteen years have had a positive first experience with Shakespeare,” DeVirgilis said.

“The Taming of the Shrew is successful at Muir because the only way to truly appreciate and understand the greatest English playwright is to ‘speak the speech…trippingly on the tongue,’ as Hamlet, from another Shakespearean classic, once said.”

Burbank Youth Summer Theatre Institute Tosses Out “The Tempest”

Burbank Youth Summer Theatre Institute presents William Shakespeare’s The Tempest in two performances as the culmination for the local youth acting camp on Thursday, June 23, and Friday, June 24.

Twenty-two kids from the Burbank area have met under the tutelage of Artistic Director Lisa Dyson, Director David Prather, Director Crystal Robbins and Scenic Director Beth Morrison for the past three weeks.

Aided by Burbank Youth Summer Theatre Institute (BYSTI) alumni Harry Miller, Emma Shannon, Addie Miller, Miles Gilmore, Maeve Czerwinski and Maddie Seiffert, the youngsters have been learning original Shakespearian dialogue for a shortened version of The Tempest, adapted by Dyson.

Burbank Youth Summer Theatre Institute 2016 presents Shakespeare's "The Tempest." (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Burbank Youth Summer Theatre Institute 2016 presents Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” Front row left to right: Penny Kalcoff, Shea Casey, Giselle Merida, Noah Kim, Mia Morrison, Billy Mannsoorian. Second row: Keira Dahm, Ella Morris, Maggie Bashar. Third row: Olivia Flosi, Harry Zekowski, Harrison Rothacher, Peter Molaro, Jarek Czerwinski, Jaden Gerard. Back row: Louie Zekowski, Maya Paster, Juliette Dube, Nathalya Merida, Daria Clark. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“It was a dark and stormy night… a ruler forced to give up his kingdom… a baby forced to leave her home,” said Dyson as a synopsis of the tale. “Sailors, sprites, heroes, villains, and above all, magic, will surround you!”

“Join us for our eighth season as we adventure on land and sea,” she added. “Come be a part of the action as BYSTI takes on the The Tempest!”

Last year, BYSTI put on Shakespeare’s As You Like It. In 2014, the crew presented A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The hour-long performance will be held at BYSTI’s new summer home, the Burbank First United Methodist Church, located at 700 N. Glenoaks Boulevard.

Two performances, with no intermission, are slated for Thursday, June 23, at 1:30 p.m. and Friday, June 24, at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Attendees are advised to bring low beach chairs and picnic blankets for more comfortable seating inside the church multi-purpose room.

BYSTI Heads ‘Into The Woods’ At Starlight Bowl Performance

The Burbank Youth Summer Theatre Institute (BYSTI) takes audiences into the Forest of Arden with William Shakespeare’s romantic comedy As You Like It for two performances, Thursday morning, June 25, and Friday evening, June 26, at the Starlight Bowl.

For the past three weeks, the 26 BYSTI players have been learning lines, blocking and choreography to an edited version of the play, after first auditioning for roles. The primarily middle and high school-age kids have also taken headshots and written bios, participated in regular improvisation classes and lent artistic efforts to the production of scenery and props.

Burbank Summer Youth Theatre Institute 2015 presents Shakespeare's "As You Like It." (from left to right, back to front) Back Row - Harrison Rothacher, Beth Morrison (Production Designer), William Rodriguez, Jonah Ring, Lisa Dyson (Artistic Director/Director), Louie Zekowski, David Prather (Associate Director), Ophelia Morris, Adin Ring, Harry Miller (Intern), Susie Miller (Prop Master), Matthew Molaro, Crystal Robbins (Associate Director.) Third Row- Eyen Paredes, Addie Miller, Olivia Flosi, Alexa Klohn, Julia Skillsky, Siena Lopez, Abby Griffith, Colin Lee, Gemma Maginnis, Harry Zekowski. Second Row- Shayna Gerard, Jaden Gerard, Peter Molaro, Jarek Czerwinski. First Row - Billy Mansoorian, Charlotte Hopkins, Ella Morris Phoebe Kellogg, Cassius Clay-Harris. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Burbank Summer Youth Theatre Institute 2015 presents Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” (from left to right, back to front) Back Row – Harrison Rothacher, Beth Morrison (Production Designer), William Rodriguez, Jonah Ring, Lisa Dyson (Artistic Director/Director), Louie Zekowski, David Prather (Associate Director), Ophelia Morris, Adin Ring, Harry Miller (Intern), Susie Miller (Prop Master), Matthew Molaro, Crystal Robbins (Associate Director.) Third Row- Eyen Paredes, Addie Miller, Olivia Flosi, Alexa Klohn, Julia Skillsky, Siena Lopez, Abby Griffith, Colin Lee, Gemma Maginnis, Harry Zekowski. Second Row- Shayna Gerard, Jaden Gerard, Peter Molaro, Jarek Czerwinski. First Row – Billy Mansoorian, Charlotte Hopkins, Ella Morris Phoebe Kellogg, Cassius Clay-Harris. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Headed by Artistic Director/Director Lisa Dyson, Associate Directors David Prather and Crystal Robbins and Production Designer Beth Morrison, BYSTI has proven a popular local option for summer theater programs in the area, with many campers returning year after year. While most students hail from Jordan, Luther and Muir Middle Schools and Burbank and Burroughs High Schools, some kids who are homeschooled or from other school districts join in the summer experience.

Brothers Adin and Jonah Ring, both 15-year-old sophomores at Burbank High School, are some of the original BYSTI players from the program’s inception in 2009.

“I enjoy Shakespeare and acting,” commented Adin Ring, who plays Jacques (Jaqueez.) “Not only is it fun to be part of the whole process learning lines and performing, but it’s also fun hanging out with a great bunch of people. ”

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The friendship and camaraderie factor is something several BYSTI players mentioned as a big perk of the program.

“My favorite part about the BYSTI summer camp is that you get to meet new people and make new friends,” said first-year player and eight-year-old Ella Morris, who attends Emerson Elementary. She has been enjoying her role as one of the Merry Women in the performance.

“It has been a lot of fun,” said another first-year BYSTI player, Abby Griffith, who plays lead character Rosalind. “Everyone has been so nice.”

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Griffith, a 13-year-old eighth-grader at Muir Middle School, has done some acting before but never performed Shakespeare. She had to learn 120 lines in little more than a week after being assigned the role.

“It was hard to learn so many lines,” she added, “but I practiced every day.”

“Since the first year of camp, the plays have gotten a lot more complicated and I think the directors have figured out how to get the actors to step up to the challenge through the warmups we do and blocking the scenes,” commented Jonah Ring, who portrays lead character Orlando. “The quality of the shows has increased and I’m exited to see the end product.”

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

BYSTI was created in 2009 through a collaboration by Dr. David Rosen of Woodbury University, BUSD Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn and Dyson, an actor and parent.

“For five summers, BYSTI was held on the Woodbury University campus as Burbank’s version of ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ for kids,” explained Dyson.

In 2014, BYSTI partnered with the Burbank Parks and Recreation Department and now calls the Starlight Bowl their summer home.

“All students learn the basics of acting, movement, voice, improvisation and all while memorizing and preparing to perform a Shakespearian play,” commented Dyson. “All in three weeks! A different Shakespeare play is performed each year [adapted and edited by Dyson] and given our special BYSTI twist.”

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“I chose As You Like It this year because we’ve never done one of Shakespeare’s true romantic comedies,” continued Dyson. “I felt the BYSTI players were now at the maturity and experience level to master this genre and I believe it’s enjoyable for all ages.”

“My original vision back in 2009 was to have the BYSTI players take over the program as they get older,” she added. “This year saw the very beginning of that vision come to fruition.”

“This summer, three original BYSTI players [Harry Miller, Emma Shannon and Maddie Seiffert] returned as interns – teaching their own improv workshop rotations, helping with set design, teaching master classes and choreographing musical numbers. Watching them take on the responsibility of helping a program they have pride in, which they helped make successful, makes me extremely happy.”

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“We also have been extremely lucky over the years to have Susie Miller, a very recent BHS graduate, as our prop mistress extraordinaire!” added Dyson.

“It gives me a chance to do art, which I love, and the whole BYSTI group is like a family,” commented Susie Miller, who will attend UC Berkeley in the fall focusing on media studies.

“I could not ask for a better group of adults to spend my summers with,” added Dyson. “They are among the most professional, caring, talented and creative teaching artists around today. It is a dream team!”

BYSTI’s two presentations of As You Like It are free and open to the public. An “invited”dress rehearsal will be held on Thursday June 25, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Hats, umbrellas, sunscreen and water are recommended for those attending the dress rehearsal.

The evening performance of As You Like It will begin Friday night, June 26, at 6:00 p.m.  Picnics are welcome. Free parking will be available in adjacent Starlight Bowl parking lots. There is no intermission and the show is expected to conclude by 7:30 p.m.

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

(Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Shakespeare Exploration Day Engages And Entertains

Burbank Unified School District recently held a Shakespeare Exploration Day for 200 students in the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program from every elementary school in the district. The Burbank Adult School opened its doors to the students as they attended various classes and demonstrations throughout the full school day program.

Caroline Solberg, a Jefferson parent and volunteer, organized the grant funding effort which made the Exploration Day possible. The students also celebrated the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth with slices of cake.

Penelope White and Nova McNally, Roosevelt fourth-graders, spar with foils.  (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Penelope White and Nova McNally, Roosevelt fourth-graders, spar with foils. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

“This GATE event was an excellent example of what can happen when parents, teachers and administrators all work together to put together a high quality learning experience for students,” commented Dr. Tom Kissinger, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services. “I was just thrilled to see almost two hundred fourth- and fifth-graders, from all eleven elementary schools, participating.”

Student learned about Shakespeare’s biographical details and life in England during the later part of the 16th century and early 17th century, including manners, language and other aspects of the culture at that time.

They listened to performances of and acted out scenes from Romeo and Juliet. Students also practiced sword fighting and stage combat skills with instructors from Swordplay and participated in team building exercises.

Jefferson parent and Shakespeare Exploration Day organizer Caroline Solberg hands fourth-grader Kaylee Hirsch from Roosevelt a slice of cake to celebrate Shakespeare's birthday. (Photo Courtesy of Colleen Matlock)

Jefferson parent and Shakespeare Exploration Day organizer Caroline Solberg hands fourth-grader Kaylee Hirsch from Roosevelt a slice of cake to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday. (Photo Courtesy of Colleen Matlock)

“I really enjoyed learning about Shakespeare as well as practicing my sword fighting skills in preparation for my scene from Romeo and Juliet,” said Rhett Hemingway, a fourth-grader from Brett Harte Elementary. “I have to admit I was a little surprised by how interesting Shakespeare was.”

Kelly Matlock, a fourth-grader from Roosevelt Elementary, thought the Shakespeare Exploration Day “was super fabulous amazing. I wish I could do it again.”

“My favorite part was everything, but if I had to pick something, I’d say the acting part,” she added.

Students learn to properly bow and curtsy, in a class taught by Lisa Dyson. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Students learn to properly bow and curtsy, in a class taught by Lisa Dyson. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Shakespeare Exploration Day was the first day program of its kind for GATE students in BUSD, with three to four more planned for the 2014-15 school year. The district also plans to expand with similar programs at the middle school level in the near future, according to Kissinger.

Youngsters age 9 to 15 with an interest in acting and learning more about Shakespeare may be interested in joining the Burbank Youth Summer Theatre Institute’s annual summer camp. Families can register via the Burbank Parks and Rec website. The camp runs for three weeks in June and will be taught by actor/artists Lisa Dyson, David Prather, Beth Morrison and Crystal Robbins.

Students practice stage combat and fencing basics at Shakespeare Exploration Day. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Students practice stage combat and fencing basics at Shakespeare Exploration Day. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)