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To be (an actor) or not to be? That is the question for teens

To be (an actor) or not to be? That is the question for teens

By: Glenda H. Caudle Special Features Editor

By GLENDA H. CAUDLE
Special Features Editor
Twenty teens can “play a part” in a great tragedy.
Or an ageless comedy.
Take your pick.
But pick with haste, because the opportunity to register for the first local Shakespeare Intensive Camp for Teens will expire March 10.
A collaborative effort between Masquerade Theatre Inc. in Union City and the Atlanta Shakespeare Co. at the New American Shakespeare Tavern in that city marks a unique opportunity for local youthful thespians with a desire to stretch their dramatic muscles.
The camp is planned for June 16-28 at the Capitol Theatre in downtown Union City. Tuition will be about $500 and local sponsors are being sought to help provide partial and full scholarships for students from this area who want to take part but may not have the resources.
Local theater fan Todd Little and his family “discovered” the famed Atlanta Shakespeare Company on a trip to that Georgia city last year. They also learned the company stages a month-long Shakespeare camp for teens each summer in Atlanta. Little’s son, Alex, who has appeared in several local Masquerade Theatre productions, was interested in the camp but the challenge of securing room and board for an entire month made attending the program an impossibility.
Little was unwilling to give up on the possibility, however, and as a result of his tenacity, he forged a connection with a representative of the company who agreed to provide an abbreviated camp in Union City. The Masquerade Theatre board jumped at the opportunity.
Participants will be selected after auditions, but 20 spots must be filled to make the camp a reality, Little said.
“This will not be a baby-sitting service. This is for teens who are serious about acting.
Three professionals will be coming from Atlanta for the two weeks and they’ll be offering a modified version of their camp there,” Little says. “This will be their first venture away from their home base. If it works out well, they might branch out next year. It really depends on the level of interest and the success of the effort.”
The camp will focus on the actual acting on stage of Shakespeare’s work by emphasizing the skills needed to study and perform the Bard’s plays. Stage combat instruction, text work, vocal and movement techniques and madrigal singing — all important elements in Elizabethan theater — will also be taught, and there will be “bonus” instruction in set design and costuming.
Participants will actually rehearse a play by Shakespeare and present it, after two weeks of fast-paced, professional-style instruction, at the Capitol Theatre.
In addition to determining which aspiring actors are selected for the camp, the scheduled auditions will also be useful for assigning roles for those students who are accepted, Little said, adding, “If we do not have sufficient interest, this wonderful opportunity will be lost to our community.”
Little is encouraging all teens who live within commuting distance of Union City to register by March 10.
He is also asking local supporters of theatre arts and of youth to come on board and help make this opportunity a reality by assisting teens who may need scholarship help and by offering to provide snacks and noon meals for the participants.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to expose youth to culture they don’t get to see very often in this area. The company is very excited about this and so are we,” he said.
Donations may be made to assist young people who are interested by visiting the camp Web site at www.shakespearetavern.com.
Applications may be submitted to www.freewebs.com/shakespearecamp2008.
Published in The Messenger 2.21.08

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