Same classic story, different language THEATER: 'Romeo and Juliet' performed in Spanish at school.Byline: Connie Llanos llanos (yä`nōs), Spanish American term for prairies, specifically those of the Orinoco River basin of N South America, in Venezuela and E Colombia. , Staff Writer
Kieu Nguyen's eyes traced the energetic actors as they glided from one end of the stage to the other inside the Reseda Elementary auditorium.
Watching Shakespeare's classic "Romeo and Juliet Romeo and Juliet
star-crossed lovers die as teenagers. [Br. Lit.: Romeo and Juliet]
See : Death, Premature
Romeo and Juliet
archetypal star-crossed lovers. [Br. Lit. " for the first time, Kieu belted out laughs during the 16th century play's comical Mercutio scenes, and gasped when she watched the young lovers fall into eternal sleep Noun 1. eternal sleep - euphemisms for death (based on an analogy between lying in a bed and in a tomb); "she was laid to rest beside her husband"; "they had to put their family pet to sleep"
eternal rest, quietus, sleep, rest .
The experience was made all the more special for the young Vietnamese-American because it was performed for her and her classmates Classmates can refer to either:
"I only understood some of the words ... the one's I've learned from my friends," Kieu said.
"But it didn't matter because their faces were so good that I could understand the story," Nguyen said.
Thanks to a partnership between the Shakespeare Center Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. and Mexico's University of Guadalajara The University of Guadalajara (UdeG) is a public university based in Guadalajara, Jalisco. It is the second oldest university in Mexico, the fourth oldest in North America and the fourteenth oldest in Latin America. , thousands of students at five Los Angeles Unified campuses will get a chance to enjoy this one-of-a-kind children's adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet."
Performed by actors from the A La Deriva Teatro group from Mexico, the shows have taken place all week. The Reseda performance - the only one in the San Fernando Valley San Fernando Valley
Valley, southern California, U.S. Northwest of central Los Angeles, the valley is bounded by the San Gabriel, Santa Susana, and Santa Monica mountains and the Simi Hills. - was also partially sponsored by LAUSD LAUSD Los Angeles Unified School District (Los Angeles, CA) board member Tamar Galatzan.
"For us this is a great opportunity to not only introduce children to Shakespeare ... but also to elements of Mexican culture through theater," said Fausto Ramirez, A La Deriva's director.
"Like in ancient Greek Noun 1. Ancient Greek - the Greek language prior to the Roman Empire
Greek, Hellenic, Hellenic language - the Hellenic branch of the Indo-European family of languages times, when actors were brought to contentious land and war meetings, through theater we can also bridge the cultural gaps between our communities."
Bringing the play to elementary school children was also part of an effort to bring classic theater to young children who rarely get the chance to experience it.
Ben Donnenberg, artistic director for the Shakespeare Center Los Angeles, said he has worked for the last several years to bring arts to local public schools but traditionally efforts are geared toward high school students.
"This was our effort to reach a section of the community that is underserved," Donnenberg said.
"Arts have been slashed to bare bones ... if arts organizations don't step up we'll have an entire generation of kids who have never been involved with the arts and won't support it later on."
Donnenberg said the theater group plans to bring an all-Spanish "Hamlet" to Los Angeles students next year.
(1 -- 3 -- color) At right, Susana Romo and Abelardo Ferre perform a children's adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet" at Reseda Elementary School in Reseda on Thursday. The Mexican Shakespeare troupe is in town performing at local schools. At top, student Paola Correa enjoys the performance. Above, members of A La Deriva Teatro perform the children's adaptation of Shakespeare's romance.
Andy Holzman/Staff Photographer