Primavera’s Shakespeare Pageant brings medieval history and literature to life (VIDEO)
The back lawn at the Primavera School on May 19 transformed into a medieval garden, complete with costumed characters out of William Shakespeare’s mind: frightening witches forecasting “toil and trouble,” a romantic suitor felled by forbidden love, a father’s ghost, and mischievous fairies.
Fourth-grade teacher Pamela Brown opted to direct a fanciful, and history-filled, Shakespeare Pageant as an end-of-the-year project, one that offered the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders to dress in medieval costumes made out of bathrobes, braids and anything else she could find in area thrift stores. With prepared scripts about their characters and plots of their particular plays, or their role in 16th century London, England, the students transported themselves in time. This is the third time the school has offered such a pageant.
Their performances proved a huge hit, beginning with a two-by-two parade of characters, choreographed dances to music Brown suggested might have once entertained the world’s greatest, and most prolific, playwright. Each of the students then stepped into history with scripts detailing their character’s role in history and theater.
“This is amazing,” declared fourth-grader Haley Lynch, who learned her lines as Titania, the queen fairy in Shakespeare’s comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Lynch said she particularly enjoyed her character because she is “very powerful, but doesn’t show it.”
In the play, the character Bottom is transformed by the fairy Puck into a donkey, Puck’s statement of his role as a fool, and is blissfully unaware of his transformation as he basks in the glow of Titania’s affection. In time, he comes to recognize that “things are not always as they seem.”
His young portrayer, Caden Gall, too, enjoyed his role, even though his face and neck got a bit sweaty from wearing the donkey head. And he said he and his fellow students learned a lot about Shakespeare’s imagination, creativity and the history of his time.
“The Merry Wives of Windsor” character Mistress Page, performed by fifth-grader Ava Hlavacek, learned that Queen Elizabeth challenged Shakespeare to write this particular play in just a two-week window.
Her mother, Jennie Jacobson, said she and her daughter had quite a discussion about that period in history when her daughter objected to being forced to wear her hair in a bun. Her mother explained that in that day a proper woman did not allow her hair to hang loose, emphasizing how fashion over the centuries has reflected societal mores, or proved a visible evidence of political rebellion.
Principal Carol Darrow said she was impressed with the pageantry and production, particularly as this is a hands-on learning at its very best.
“The words, the costumes, and the feelings they get from being a character from a different time will live with them forever,” Darrow said. “It’s joyful learning.”