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Fourth Annual San Diego Student Shakespeare Festival

Video highlights of this year’s festival

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Above: Valhalla High School employed large puppets for their performance of Macbeth

This past Sunday the San Diego Shakespeare Society presented its Fourth Annual Student Shakespeare Festival. As I mentioned it was not a film event but it did boast many fine performances and celebrated Shakespeare's ability to still capture young imaginations so I couldn't resist including it on my blog. With approximately 400 students performing on five stages in Balboa Park, it was a fitting way to celebrate the anniversary of the Bard's birthday. Although I didn't see any really young performers (no kindergarteners this time out), there were students as young as third grade and as old as high school seniors. The five stages drew large and enthusiastic crowds as people strolling down the Prado were treated to scenes from "A Midsummer's Night Dream" (multiple versions of the Mechanics scene), "Macbeth" (I think that was the most popular source for scenes), and such favorites as "Romeo and Juliet" and "The Taming of the Shrew." I have a few video highlights to share. Above was the most innovative staging of the afternoon, Valhalla High School's Macbeth in which the performers used giant puppets. I interviewed some of the performers about the unique production that also incorporated Arabic, Russian and Spanish.

A pair of high school seniors from Castle Park discussed their performance of "The Taming of the Shrew." Their one regret was that they didn't find out about the festival until their senior year and won't be able to participate again. Note that they had to borrow their prop chair from another school at the last minute.

"A Midsummer's Night Dream" always provides good material, and "Bottom and the Mechanics" allow for delightful overacting. This performance by the Bishops School boasted a particularly good Bottom. I hope these highlights give you a sense of the fun, energy and talent on display. You can see photos of the event in my FaceBook Album (photos by Tony Weidinger; video by Shane Flores).

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