Last Friday and Saturday, weeks of rehearsals resulted in the most spectacular show on earth. Each year, Upper Elementary and Middle School students wrap up their curriculum and testing then turn their sights to the Shakespeare performance. These performances highlight unique themes as the students make the famous plays their own.
Guided by a troupe of Ringmasters, excerpts from Titus Andronicus, Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, All’s Well That Ends Well, and Romeo and Juliet were performed for a full house for two nights. Throughout each of these moving and often humorous renditions, special circus acts kept the audience on the edge of their seats! These acts of acrobatics, dance, juggling and flips were accompanied by balloon animal designers, clowns and hula-hoopers. Students were divided into groups and choreographed their own breakout acts. Watching these unique hidden talents was certainly exciting.
The Shakespeare performance is a student led production guided by our directors, The Amazing Worbene’s (Kristi Abene and Kim Worthen). The directors organize all students from 4th through 8th grades into crews that include hair/make-up, costume, set/prop, stage managers, student and technical directors and public relations. These crews conquered the challenges of putting together such a large production, an amazing feat not only in theater but also in project management! The annual Shakespeare performance is the Practical Life culmination of years of project work and reciting poetry.
Although students expressed nervousness before the curtain rose, their performance of so many different Shakespeare plays flowed together in a spectacular display of what weeks of hard work can achieve! The most bittersweet emotions came from 8th graders, as this is their last year as a part of this event, but they look forward to High School and returning to support the play from behind the scenes. As their last performance with this celebrated Westwood tradition, each 8th grader selected a quote by William Shakespeare that was meaningful to them. We were left with a few parting words and thoughts for those who will say merci et bonne nuit…
If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.
Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast.
Romeo and Juliet
We know what we are, but know not what we may be.
They do not love that do not show their love.
Two Gentlemen of Verona
Things done well and with a care, exempt themselves from fear.
King Henry the Eighth
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
Merchant of Venice
Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful.
Measure for Measure
Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great,
some achieve greatness, and some have
greatness thrust upon them.
It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.
What is past is prologue.
The golden age is before us, not behind us.