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From Shakes-fear to Shakes-peer

06:55 PM August 05, 2011

Ms. Martinez teaches Shakespeare to a rowdy class

If there’s a word that strikes fear among highschool students more than Calculus or History combined: it’s Shakespeare. But what’s in a name? For most students, Shakespeare has become synonymous with long poetic dialogue, archaic language, confusing histories. Shakespeare has bored many a student to tears and made their noses bleed.

Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) for its 44th Theater Season takes Shakespeare off the lofty pedestal and makes The Bard a “peer”, or to borrow the term of the youth today a “kabarkada”.

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PETA has come up with an original play that will cure students’ Shakes-fear and and turn the Bard into a  Shakes-peer: everyone’s friend.

Directed by the same woman behind the hit musical dramedy “Care Divas”, PETA Artistic Director Maribel Legarda, comes a daring play that will breakdown barriers between Shakespeare and Filipino students: “William”.

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“William” is set in a high school in Metro Manila, where five young students are forced to study Shakespeare by their terror class adviser, Ms. Lutgarda Martinez.

In the process of studying, they not only realize the beauty of Shakespeare’s works but also discover themselves through Shakespeares characters. The class muse, Sofia, finds out what true beauty is through “Romeo and Juliet”; the bully, TJ, encounters humility and grace through “Hamlet”; the brainy OFW’s daughter, Estella, learns forgiveness while the student council leader, Richard, learns self-acceptance through “Merchant of Venice”; and a timid lad, Erwin, finds his voice through “Julius Caesar”.

Students breakdown Shakespeare with hip-hop and rap

These high school barkada soon realize that Shakespeare is not just a literary icon meant to torment their lives, but is also a friend and peer. From then on, they begin referring to Shakespeare by his first name, “William.”

Writen by Ron Capinding, “William” uses rap and hip-hop to introduce Shakespeare’s immortal characters to young audiences. It also touches on themes of adolescence, parent’s unconditional love and friendship. “William” promotes respect for teachers and classmates and advocates a love for reading and appreciating literature – Shakespeare or not.

“William” play dates are August 14, 19-21, 26-28, September 2-4, 9-11, 16-18, 23-25, 2011 with shows at 10:00A.M. and 3P.M. The PETA Theater Center is located at No. 5 Eymard Drive, New Manila, Quezon City.

William’s cast includes: Ian Segarra, Inno Martin, Anj Heruela, Joan Bugcat, John Moran, Nathan Nunag, Norbs Portales III, Rico del Rosasio, J-mee Katanyag, Julia Enriquez, Anna Luna, Meann Espinosa, Jojo Atienza, Timee Gorecho, Elmer Cruz, Cheeno Macaraig, Carlon Matobato and Justin Mactal.

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TAGS: PETA, Shakespeare, Theater
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