The Bard in the Barrio
Dear Readers: Your humble columnist is both a latinófilo and a lover of the English language and Shakespeare. Last year, I wrote about the ethnic diversity at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the presence of a strong cadre of Latino actors there.
So when I heard about a production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" being staged last week at elementary school in South Central Los Angeles, I couldn't miss it. My visit to Nevin Avenue Elementary is the subject of my latest column, a little parable about language, hope and community reinvention. A few years back, the school was in such bad shape that the state took it over. Now it's thriving. Nine-year-old Salvador Medina, as Puck (pictured below), stole the show. You'd think it would be hard for a child so young to master a Shakespearean speech, but Salvador pulled it off.
Several of the actors, students from grades two through five, later met Tom Hanks at the Shakespeare Center Los Angeles production of "Much Ado About Nothing."
-- Hector Tobar
Photo Credits: The Shakespearites; Ryan Miller / Capture Imaging