The Brooklyn Summer Shakespeare-ience is a program that makes Shakespeare accessible to the inner city youth of Brooklyn. Throughout the program, students will read, analyze and perform a selected play by Shakespeare. The selected play this summer is A Midsummer Night’s Dream. On Friday June 27th the company took a visit to the Brooklyn Museum and viewed an installation by Swoon. Swoon is a street artist who specializes in life size wheatpaste prints and paper cutouts of human figures. We plan to use Swoon’s exhibit as inspiration for our sets and other art components of the play.
The students of the Summer Shakespeare-ience took a tour of Swoon’s exhibit in the Brooklyn Museum. The exhibit in the Brooklyn Museum was titled “Submerged Motherlands.” Submerged Motherlands was inside a rotunda using a monumental sculpted tree as the center and a sculpted environment around the base with things such as boats. We were amazed by the detail expressed through Swoon’s artwork. While there, we analyzed what the artwork portrayed to us. One Shakespeare-ience student compared the exhibit to rebirth, others compared the exhibit to human interaction with nature and how nature reacts to the actions with current issues we face today such as climate change or global warming.
After the trip Mrs. Person, NSHSS Educator of Distinction and Producer of the Brooklyn Summer Shakespeare-ience, and Mr. Person, Director, took us to Prospect park where we were told to sit down on the lawn. When this command was given some students hesitated to sit on the ground. We came to the understanding that humans are detached from different aspects of Mother nature. This is similar to the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream where the humans there are also detached from nature or the fairy world. They remain completely unaware of the problems around them and order is only restored once the fairy world is at equilibrium. Shakespeare's themes are always present and timeless, something we kids would never know without experiencing the Shakespeare-ience. Please visit our website at www.bksumshake.com. We would love for you to read and respond to our blog posts.
Written by current Brooklyn Summer Shakespeare-ience student Ashanti Lyking
The producer of the program, Tracy Cook-Person, has been an educator/curriculum writer/mentor with the New York City department of Education for eleven years. During this time she has been the recipient of the Who's Who of American Teachers award from 2004-2006 and The Claes Nobel Teacher of Distinction Award for excellence in education for the school years 2006 -2013. She is a community collaborator and creates links between public schools and parents as well as creating and building relationships between community and cultural centers with public schools.