Valentine's Day has come and gone, yet true love lingers at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. The kid-friendly Short Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet will be hitting the stage every Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. at the Chicago Shakespeare Courtyard Theater, the cultural gem of Navy Pier. Now is your chance to introduce your children to the joys of Shakespeare!
Recommended for ages 10 and up, Short Shakespeare:Romeo and Juliet is a condensed (but certainly not dumbed-down) 75-minute version of the original. Before the a Short Shakespeare show even begins, one of the ensemble members takes a moment to speak to the kids in the crowd. The message: "if you are having trouble understanding our words, look to our actions. Listen to us as if you were listening to a new song."
When my son was 9, I took him to see Short Shakespeare: Macbeth at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. I briefly outlined the basic story to him before the show, so I wouldn't have to answer too many whispered questions during. My son noted afterwards, "I really liked it," and judging by the other children's eager questions during the standard Q&A session with the actors post-show, I'd say that this production captured the interest of most of the kid-centered audience.
This time around, I took my son and his friend, both age 11. The verdict: they loved it! The swordfighting scenes and even the budding romance scenes really seemed to garnish their tween attention. This version of the famous love story really captured the universal giddiness and angst of first love.
While the theater itself will give kids a taste of what it was like to attend a show long ago at the Globe, there is more of Shakespeare to be found in our city. A statue of Shakespeare sits on the edge of Lincoln Park: Climb into his lap (carefully) for a great photo op. There is also a lovely little garden at the edge of the lagoon in Lincoln Park, where four engraved stones detail my favorite sonnet of all, Sonnet 18, which beings, Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? My kids and I have a standing tradition that every time we walk past that little garden, usually on our way to the beach or the zoo, we step onto the stone path surrounded by lovely flowers and read the sonnet together. It seems like forever since the last time we meandered through that little garden, joyfully reading a love poem from 1609. Let's hope that the lovely Chicago summer days return soon!
To order tickets fro Short Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, visit click here.
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