This weekend, dozens of student actors from Brooklyn will present Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew." They spent the entire summer rehearsing, proving that the English playwright's dramatic works appeal to everyone. NY1's Cheryl Wills filed the following report.
All the world's a stage, and these Brooklyn students are merely players, like 16-year-old Randy Valcourt, who playeth the loyal servant Tranio.
"If you told me this two years ago, I would think you're lying," Valcourt said.
These 30 Brooklyn teens singeth the praises of The Bard in a program called The Brooklyn Summer Shakesperience. They have reimagined "The Taming of The Shrew" and set it in Harlem during the 1930s.
"I love it," said Jorge Guzman, a student performer. "I learn more, building more of my vocabulary in English."
One might compare their enthusiasm to 'a summer's day,' where they have toiled at The Brooklyn Children's Museum to prove that Shakespeare knows no boundaries. So say Tracy Cook-Person and Darrin Person, the co-founders of this production, now in its fourth year.
"We were told in coded terms that urban learners could not get, did not like, would not do Shakespeare, and we felt that urban learners meant children of color," Cook-Person said.
"My wife and I beg to differ. We're like, 'No. Just, maybe it's a certain way that you have to present it,'" Person said. "So we created the Brooklyn Summer Shakesperience in a way to prove them wrong."
"Shakespeare has no barriers whatsoever. Everybody can enjoy Shakespeare. That's how it is," said Susan Kun, a student performer.
To be or not to be? If that's the question, then Randy Valcourt has just the answer.
"I never thought I would fall this much in love with Shakespeare. Never," Valcourt said. "I thought I would go somewhere, like, say, into engineering, which I am going to, but never thought I would stumble into the arts like this."