HENRY V - JULY 2015, DIRECTED BY WILLIAM WOLFGANG & MEGAN KITZMILLER
Shakespeare’s account of one of England’s most famous kings provided an exciting opening performance for the Dover Youth Shakespeare Academy in July of 2015. Henry V tells the story of a charismatic leader who unites all of his people under unwavering leadership. King Henry has the goal of conquering all of France, something he considers to be his birthright. This energizing and comical version of one of Shakespeare’s greatest war stories was the first theatrical performance for many young actors.
Storytelling is at the root of Shakespeare’s work. It is not simply a story that The Bard placed in front of his audiences but rather stories about humans and our organic interactions, objectives, and personalities. It is through Shakespeare that we can learn about history, culture, and even language. Does this sound like several school lessons in one location? This is where the Dover Youth Shakespeare Academy comes to life.
After performing in several Shakespeare plays with OrangeMite, I have worked with a few younger cast members. They came to rehearsals with open minds and acted with excitement. Not only were they hanging out with the big kids, but they got to play with swords or dress in fancy costumes. However, there was not much more for children to do. Shakespeare does not include many younger roles in his plays, yet his stories are full of entertaining action and relatable characters that should be accessed more by kids. Then who better to put in place of the big kids, to learn this challenging language, and to emulate real human interactions than children? Kids observe and imitate naturally. Their curiosity exceeds no bounds. This is what makes the recipe so perfect.
To be able to have this opportunity to work with our first group of kids in this program is exciting, challenging, and rewarding. As a teacher, I see the students accepting the challenge head on because they are ready to step up to the plate and show everyone what they are capable of. It is also not every day we see children performing Shakespeare. However, I can proudly say that from the moment of arrival this group was ready to learn, not just everything that comes with acting but also the education that comes with Shakespeare. These kids are ready to tell one of Shakespeare’s stories. I know there is much you will learn from them in return.
Megan Kitzmiller, Co-Director