Youth tackle Shakespeare during theatre camp

There's much ado about lots of things when it comes to youth performing a Shakespearean play after 10 days of intense rehearsal.

Shooting Stars Theatre presents Much Ado About Nothing at Theatre Northwest Tuesday to Friday at 7:30 p.m.

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Melissa Glover of Shooting Stars said there are nine youth who are between 10 and 17 years old working hard during rehearsal to make it all come together at theatre camp.

The group started with a modern-day version of the play and a copy of the original prose side-by-side so the actors could get used to the language and make sense of it.

After all the hard work Glover said she'd like the children's efforts to be rewarded to a greater degree.

"So this year we're going to be presenting four performances of the show as opposed to two that I've done in the past," Glover said.

"The kids worked so hard to put on this play and to just have two performances it doesn't give them a chance to get into their stride. I've noticed working with professional actors, even their opening can be a bit shaky and then once they've done a few more performances they really hit their stride and then they grow as a company. This is my first year experimenting with that and seeing how that goes."

The play rehearsals are going really well, Glover added. Because it's a comedy, high energy is required and it seems this group of young actors can carry it through.

"And some of the women in the theatre camp are playing male roles and that's a really hard challenge," she said. In Shakespeare's time only men were allowed on the stage, she noted.

The play is set in Shakespearean times so Glover said modern mannerisms need to be diminished, presenting more obstacles for the young thesbians to overcome.

"The kids have done a great job and have a really great command of the text," she said, who started Shooting Stars seven years ago.

"A lot of themes in Shakespeare and especially in Much Ado About Nothing are revenge, love, betrayal - you know - the stuff that makes a really good story. When the students understand what's at stake for their characters it gets them that much more invested in the words they're saying and makes it easier to understand Shakespeare."

In professional theatre, a 10-day lead before the play goes in front of an audience seems typical so Glover was confident the children would succeed.

"They've done extremely well with it because they want to put together a great production," she said.

"They've all done a really great job of jumping right in and creating a true ensemble because that's what theatre is, it's working as a team and knowing that one actor is no more important than any other and they've really adjusted to that. I think Prince George is ready for Shakespeare and my next goal is having adults perform Shakespeare and doing more productions throughout the year."

Much Ado About Nothing is a lighthearted comedy that Glover said she knows audiences will enjoy.

Performances are held Tuesday to Friday at Theatre Northwest. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m.

Admission is by donation.

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