Valentine’s Day

Farewell February; Hello March!

February was a short but busy month for us at Shakespeare in Action, as it marked our 5th annual Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day fundraiser!

Sonnet Kids – Dushane, Ivy, Nicholas, Saskia, and Thomas – all began their journeys in different places – our Summer Camp for Kids and the TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club sessions at Brookbanks, Highland Creek, Main Street, and St. Jamestown public libraries.

We spent time together unpacking sonnets 18, 29, 105, and 116 – discovering rhyme scheme, sorting out characters’ thoughts and feelings, and using the hundred-odd words that the kids recognized to decode the half dozen words that they had never seen before. On Valentine’s Day, they were ready to deliver sonnet-grams to unsuspecting recipients in Canada and the US!

Thank you: To all the parents and guardians for their time and encouragement; to CBC Metro Morning for showcasing this program and helping us reach a new audience; to Pizzaville (College and Roxton), Metro (College and Shaw), and our favourite bookstore, Doug Miller Books (now at 650 Bloor Street West!) for adding the gift of great food and reads to our festivities; and to everyone who purchased a sonnet for a loved one, in support of literacy and live theatre!

A warm thank-you to all the supporters of Sonnets by Kids for Valentine's Day!

A warm thank-you to everyone who supported Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day!

Sonnet Buddy, Kyle and Sonnet Kid, Thomas, prepare for one of the first calls!

Sonnet Buddy, Kyle and Sonnet Kid, Thomas, prepare for one of the first calls!

Ivy delivers a sonnet, while Sonnet Buddy, Anna, looks on.

Ivy delivers a sonnet, while Sonnet Buddy, Anna, looks on.

Sonnet Buddy, Asha, lends a hand as Nicholas signs off on a sonnet.

Sonnet Buddy, Asha, lends a hand as Nicholas signs off on a sonnet.

It's time to give Shakespeare a makeover...or shall we say a Shakeover?!  Looks like the Bard is ready for "the winter of our discontent."

It’s time to give Shakespeare a makeover…or shall we say a Shakeover?! Looks like the Bard is ready for “the winter of our discontent.”

Sonnet Kid, Dushane, with Sonnet Buddy, Jenny!

Sonnet Kid, Dushane, with Sonnet Buddy, Jenny!

Sonnet Kid, Saskia, and Sonnet Buddy, Rebecca smile for the camera.

Sonnet Kid, Saskia, and Sonnet Buddy, Rebecca! And, wait, who’s that in the middle?

Our amazing Sonnet Kids! L-R: Saskia, Nicholas, Thomas, Ivy, and Dushane.

Our amazing Sonnet Kids! L-R: Saskia, Nicholas, Thomas, Ivy, and Dushane.

With the Sonnet Buddies! Back Row, L-R: Rebecca, Asha, Kyle, Anna, and Jenny!

With the Sonnet Buddies! Back Row, L-R: Rebecca, Asha, Kyle, Anna, and Jenny!

8-year-old Ivy's translation of Sonnet 116

8-year-old Ivy’s translation of Sonnet 116

Top 5 “Romantic” (Meaning Crazy) Moments from William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare has been lauded with creating the most beautiful romantic moments of all time. Yet, as much as William loves marriage and romance, it seems most of his depictions of romance are also his depictions of total insanity. Here for this Valentine’s Day, here are Shakespeare’s most “romantic” moments; and by ‘romantic’, I mean delusional and very twisted.

5) Twelfth Night, Malvolio Dresses Crazy For Love (Act 3, Scene 4)
While Shakespeare may have fooled us into thinking it is the romance between Viola and Cesario that is the height of the play, it is clearly Malvolio who shows us the proper levels of passion for Valentine’s Day. When Maria sends him a letter pretending to be Olivia, Malvolio will do anything to impress her, including reading strange quotations from said letter and humiliating himself with a ridiculous outfit, crossed garters and yellow stockings. Love literally makes you crazy, and Malvolio is proof.

4) Macbeth, Lady MacBeth Councils her Husband Post-Murder (Act 2, Scene 2)

When you’ve got some stresses going on there’s no one better to help calm you down than your one and only. One of the possibly biggest stresses could come from your plan to murder the King in order to take over the throne, and thank god Macbeth has Lady Macbeth to help calm him down after this task. Essentially, Lady Macbeth just points out all the things he did wrong, and how she would’ve done this a lot better (and I don’t doubt that), but at the end, when he is feeling that guilt as he looks at his bloody hands, Lady Macbeth cleans them off for him. That’s probably the sweetest moment between the two… all in the middle of an insane murder plot.

3) Hamlet, Hamlet Calls Ophelia Many Things (Act 3, Scene 1)

Hamlet in general just seems like such a charmer; there’s nothing like existentialism to make a man seem attractive. Even more attractive is when, having done absolutely nothing wrong, you get called awful names. I think this is called “playing hard to get”. Ophelia runs into Hamlet and is not just insulted by Hamlet, but is insulted among all womankind. Not cool, Hamlet. And when Ophelia ends up throwing herself in a river, Hamlet acts all sad and that he loved her all along? Stop playing those games, Hamlet. To be or not to be a jerk, that is the question.

2) Othello, Othello and Desdemona’s Last Moment Together (Act 5, Scene 2)

Nothing like death to bring loved ones together, especially in Shakespeare. Does it count if death is being brought on by your loved one? By Shakespeare’s standards, essentially it’s the best you can do! And in the most romantic locations of all, one’s own marriage bed. Othello kisses his wife before attempting to smother her, and this death scene is ridden with romantic newlywed imagery. Thanks Shakespeare, that’s not creepy at all.

1) Romeo and Juliet, Balcony Scene (Act 2, Scene 1)
Well, what did you expect would be #1? This scene is the most talked about famous romance scene in Shakespeare, and it is pretty romantic to have your secret lover come to you in the middle of the night to profess his love to you… right? Some would say that’s trespassing, but we love that kind of stuff. Romeo and Juliet, however, are probably the most unstable of all of Shakespeare’s couples. First of all, they are 14, and probably going through many hormonal changes that would probably affect their decision making. Only knowing each other three days in the total time of the play, they end up dying for each other pretty much by accident. They literally could’ve waited an hour to see if the other were really dead and then made a rational decision on what to do next, but no, impromptu sacrifice is what Shakespeare encourages. Thanks Shakespeare for presenting the ultimate romance as ultimate insanity.

Don’t follow suit on your Valentine’s Day everyone.

By Yamini Coen

Shakespeare Sonnets by Kids – A 9-year-old’s translation of Sonnet #105

valentines-day-hearts

SONNET 105

Let not my love be call’d idolatry,

Nor my beloved as an idol show,

Since all alike my songs and praises be

To one, of one, still such, and ever so.

Kind is my love to-day, to-morrow kind,

Still constant in a wondrous excellence;

Therefore my verse to constancy confined,

One thing expressing, leaves out difference.

‘Fair, kind and true’ is all my argument,

‘Fair, kind, and true’ varying to other words;

And in this change is my invention spent,

Three themes in one, which wondrous scope affords.

‘Fair, kind, and true,’ have often lived alone,

Which three till now never kept seat in one.

 

9-YEAR-OLD’S TRANSLATION

My love for you isn’t worship,

and I won’t be urged to put you on display.

All my songs and praises

are for one person, you and they are all one.

My love will be here today and tomorrow…

You are constant, and so am I.

If I change, I become less constant. That is not my goal.

You can’t find fair, kind and true all in one person,

but you are that person with all three qualities.

Give the gift of poetry this Valentine’s Day!

For more information or to purchase a sonnet, click here!

Shakespeare Sonnets by Kids – A 9-year-old’s translation of Sonnet #29

valentines-day-hearts

SONNET 29

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,

I all alone beweep my outcast state

And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries

And look upon myself and curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,

Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d,

Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,

With what I most enjoy contented least;

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,

Haply I think on thee, and then my state,

Like to the lark at break of day arising

From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;

For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings

That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

 

9-YEAR-OLD’S TRANSLATION

I am a poor person being watched.

Alone, I cry out my feelings

and heaven doesn’t hear me.

When I look at myself, I look away.

I wish for hope, a better face, more friends,

talent, and power.

But when I hate myself,

I happily think about you and my feelings change,

just like a lark singing in the morning.

For the love you bring,

I wouldn’t change places with a king.

 

Give the gift of poetry this Valentine’s Day!

For more information or to purchase a sonnet, click here!

Shakespeare Sonnets by Kids – A 10-year-old’s translation of Sonnet #116

valentines-day-hearts

SONNET 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! It is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error, and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

 

10-YEAR-OLD’S TRANSLATION

Never give up on someone you love.

Love is a lighthouse that guides a boat.

Love never dies; it keeps on trucking.

If you think I’m wrong, prove it!

Give the gift of poetry this Valentine’s Day!

For more information or to purchase a sonnet, click here!

Shakespeare Sonnets by Kids – An 8-year-old’s translation of Sonnet #18

valentines-day-heartsSONNET 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often in his gold complexion dimm’d;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor loose possession of that fair thou ow’st;

Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

 

8-YEAR-OLD’S TRANSLATION

You are beautiful and calm,

but your life is too short.

You change.

Everybody changes.

[But] your beauty won’t go away.

Death shall not find you,

because I’m writing this poem.

As long as people live,

this poem gives life to you.

Give the gift of poetry this Valentine’s Day!

For more information or to purchase a sonnet, click here!

Sonnets-by-Kids – A Unique Gift for Valentine’s Day!

Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day is celebrating its 5th year!

This Valentine’s Day, why not give the gift of poetry and let the Bard do the talking!

  • Visit http://www.shakespeareinaction.org/sonnets-by-kids.
  • Select and purchase your favourite Shakespeare Sonnet – 18, 29, 105, or 116. (Only $25 CDN)
  • On Valentine’s Day, between 2:30pm and 4:30pm EST, a talented and charming Shakespeare Kid will call your lucky Valentine and recite the sonnet with a heart full of love!
  • A Shakespeare Kid will also sign and mail a personalized copy of the sonnet for your Valentine!

SONNETS BY KIDS are available in Canada and the US until Friday, February 13, 2015 at 5pm EST, while quantities last.

Shakespeare in Action is a not-for-profit organization, dedicated to introducing young people to the magic of Shakespeare, language and live theatre. All proceeds support our educational programs throughout Toronto – the kids are “graduates”!

sonnets-by-kids-2011

– Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day 2011 – Photo: Shakespeare in Action

 

sonnets-by-kids-2012

– Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day 2012 – Photo: Shakespeare in Action

 

 

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– Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day 2013 – Photo: Shakespeare in Action

 

sonnets-by-kids-2014

– Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day 2014 – Photo: Shakespeare in Action

 

 

Shakespeare in Action- 2015 at a glance!

Happy New Year, everyone! We hope you all had a wonderful and restful holiday season. The Shakespeare in Action team is officially back to work today, and we cannot wait to get started on all of the exciting projects we have lined up for the first half of 2015! Here is a sneak peak at what’s coming up!

td-shakespeare-for-kids-library-club

TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club

Winter Session- Saturdays, January 31 – March 7, 2015

  • free readers’ theatre program for kids ages 7-12!
  • Explore plays such as The Comedy of ErrorsMacbeth, A Midsummer Night’s DreamRomeo & JulietThe Tempest, and Twelfth Night.
  • Read aloud and play drama games and meet other Shakespeare fans!
  • Led by professional actors and educators.
  • Visit  the TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club page for locations and details!

O - Shakespeare in Action - Shakespeare Challenge - 2013 - The Island is Full of Noises

The Shakespeare Challenge

March 25, 2015 at the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto

Purchase a ticket for the Shakespeare Challenge Gala Fundraiser and join us for:

  • An abridged version of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errorsperformed by a cast of courageous community members! (We have opened new spots in the cast, and the deadline to register is January 9th! Find out how to register here.)
  • Food, drink, and live music following the show!
  • A live and silent auction of fabulous items and packages!
  • The chance to give youth in priority neighborhoods across Toronto access to the arts through our subsidized ticket program!

hamlet-stage-photo

On the Mainstage: Hamlet

April 13-24, 2015

Our most recent production of Hamlet returns to the mainstage this Spring! This dreamlike production incorporates mask puppets and shadow play to create a visually rich and engaging show while staying true to Shakespeare’s text. Teen audiences will fall in love with our dark and brooding Hamlet as he perseveres to find the truth. Recommended for ages 12 and up. Visit our Hamlet page for prices and booking info!

shakespeare-meets-hip-hop-marcel-stewart

On Tour: Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop

May 4- May 15, 2015

Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop is a vibrant, interactive presentation that demonstrates how modern hip-hop shares many similarities with the themeslanguage and rhythm used by Shakespeare. Both are full of poetry, word play and lyricism and both deal with what it is to be human.

Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop brings alive the parallels between the world of the plays and their own contemporary experience. It’s the perfect complement to your in-class teaching of a specific play, in the beginning, in the middle or at the end. Visit our Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop page for booking info!

If you have any questions regarding our upcoming shows and events, please feel free to send us an e-mail, or call us at (416) 703-4881!

Romeo and Juliet Blu-Ray Giveaway- Congratulations!

Let’s offer a huge congratulations to Jennifer WB from Toronto, ON for winning a copy of Romeo and Juliet on Blu-Ray! As promised, we will be sharing her poem on our blog!

The poem is called Your Love.

Your Love is like a river.
Constantly moving,
Adding to the wondrous beauty around.
Your love is eternal,
Just like mine is for you.

Jennifer, we will be contacting you shortly to confirm your mailing details! Thanks to everyone who entered the contest, and a HUGE thanks to our friends at DFilms for providing the prize!

Shakespeare Sonnets by Kids- A Family Tradition

Shakespeare in Action’s Sonnets by Kids program has been bringing the bard to poetry-lovers everywhere for three years’ worth of Valentine’s Days now. As the big day draws closer once again, and our Sonnet Kids make their final preparations to spout sonnets to your sweeties, we wanted to take some time to reflect on how this program has touched the lives of everyone who participates in it: from the kids who read the sonnets, to the patrons who give the gift of poetry to their loved ones, to the volunteers and staff here at Shakespeare in Action who make the program a reality.

Alania Weisdorf has purchased Sonnets by Kids for her loved ones every year since the program’s inception. We asked Alania what the program means to her:

“With regards to my story, we got married at Toronto City Hall and Sonnet 116 was read at the end of the ceremony. Then a few years back, sometime in February, the National Post featured an article on gift ideas for Valentine’s and that’s how I found out about Sonnets by Kids. Since then, it has become a tradition in our family. To me, the message in the sonnet is a meaningful and lasting gift that I want to share with my family and friends.”

Sonnets by Kids has also had important impact on our Sonnet Kids. Every year in 30 different library branches across the GTA, SIA runs TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club, a free readers’ theatre program for young people. And every year we invite the most enthusiastic, the most excited, the most dedicated Library Club students to become Sonnet Kids. SIA’s education team works closely with the Sonnet Kids to teach them about Shakespeare’s sonnets: what the words mean, how the rhythm of the poetry flows, how best to deliver a line, etc.

We asked some of our Sonnet Kids what they liked about Library Club and Sonnet by Kids. Sonnet Kid Temina Tova (age 12) liked the programs because she was able to develop her acting skills, and learning Shakespeare’s plays and poetry gave her confidence at school.

The best part for Sonnet Kid Spencer (age 8) was being able to share the poems he had learned with his friends and family.

For Sonnet Kid Audrey (age 9), it was the fact that these programs united all of her passions:

“I love Library Club because I love acting, and I love reading, and I love libraries, and I love books, and I love Shakespeare, and other people.”

And in all this reflection, how could we not hear from the brains of the operation, our wonderful and dedicated Education Coordinator, Laboni?

“For me, the program celebrates poetry and kids!  I love meeting them, helping them learn, learning from them, and seeing their confidence build and build.  In the bigger picture, I enjoy linking all of our kids’ programming – TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club, Sonnets by Kids, and Summer Camp – to create a Shakespeare Family.  It’s special having these kids grow up with us and hearing their younger siblings say: ‘I want to learn Shakespeare too!’”

So, from our Shakespeare family to yours, happy Valentine’s Day!

Sonnets will be available for purchase until 5PM on February 13, so be sure to order yours now!