Shakespeare visits the Knights

Dartmouth Middle School’s Performing Arts Department mixed things up with a little bit of Shakespeare on Wednesday

Photo by Corey Evan / The Valley Chronicle
A young teen, center with braided hair, is visited in her sleep by figures from Shakespearean works.

■ Corey Evan / Reporter

To be or not to be? That is the question answered by Dartmouth Middle School’s Knight’s Players as they demonstrated that teaching teens about the works of William Shakespeare and their meanings IS to be.
Led by advisor Merri Snow, the Players presented two Shakespeare pieces in under an hour: The first was “The Shakespeare Mix-Up” where a young girl (Gabrielle Ponce Lucatero) fell asleep and dreamt she was being visited by figures from many of Shakespeare’s most well-known works. Oh, and Shakespeare himself (Kelly Jarrett) was there, in disguise, expressing his displeasure with our children’s troubles understanding how his works apply to them today.
The second was the story of Pyramus (Harley Navarrete) and Thisbe (Ariel Escobar) from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which was done well considering the Players’ limited resources and abbreviated timeframe.
Snow is definitely proud of her players, especially since this gets them ready to perform (possibly) at the high school level!
“In fact, Hemet High is our ‘theater’ school, and about half of their theater program comes from Dartmouth. We are the only school in the valley that has a full drama program,” according to Snow. “It’s very important for Hemet High to have this group available to them.”
Snow also notes that students who get three years under their belt (a.k.a. spend their whole time at Dartmouth in the drama program) can audition for, and possibly get cast into, roles that only upperclassmen used to get. “Many of them go on and get theater scholarships for college,” said Snow.
Student Poppy Snow was also involved as a costume coordinator, a lighting director AND a stage director! “I like being on stage, I like everybody looking at me!” joked Poppy.
Among the cast, Athena Hudson, who played Brutus in ‘The Shakespeare Mix-up,’ noted that the drama program gives her and her peers the chance to be like a family away from home.
Snow and her Players would like to thank Dartmouth Principal Jennifer Martin and her assistant principals, Greg White and Angela Rackovan, as well as parents, for supporting these players in their efforts to make Shakespeare proud from beyond the veil. After watching these kids put their heart and soul into this work, parting was such sweet sorrow.

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