Center Stage From a 4th Grade POV

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Last week, I went to Center Stage to see Shakespeare’s play, Twelfth Night.  I’ve been to plays at other theaters, like the one at Goucher College and the Chesapeake Arts Theater, but it was my first visit to Center Stage.  I didn’t really know what to expect, since the play wasn’t written for kids.

The Center Stage building is large, but the play we saw was in a small theater.  My mom said that there are actually two theaters in the building, a large one and a small one.  The theater we were in was really nice, with seats set up so everyone could actually see the stage.  The set was really cool, and it looked like they actually built the outside of a building.  Everything looked very sturdy.

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I was surprised to see other kids around my age there with their parents, and they seemed to like the play as much as I did.  Some people were dressed up in fur coats, but most people wore jeans, business suits and dresses.

The Artistic Director, Kwame Kwei-Armah  came on stage to tell us all about the new season.  He was really excited about the new plays, and there were even a few I would like to come back and see.  There will be one about Muhammad Ali, and one about It’s A Wonderful Life.  Mr. Kwei-Armah said there was going to be a surprise play, but I’m not sure what that would be.  I don’t think it will be Captain Underpants, but you never know.

The play, Twelfth Night was directed by Gavin Witt and was written by William Shakespeare.  It took place in 1938, Illyria. Illyria was a small Middle Eastern sea town that was ruled by a Count.  The plot was about a brother and sister who were shipwrecked and separated and they think each other is dead. The sister fell in love with the Count.  The Count was in love with a Princess.  The Princess was in love with the sister, who was dressed up like a boy.  The Princess had a servant and he fell in love with her too.  There was a lot of miscommunication. The play was funny and there were a lot of jokes and comedy acting, especially with two men who were supposed to be drunk all the time.  There was even a sword fight, but that turned out to be funny, too.

Overall, it was a little long and a little hard to understand because they talked like Shakespeare. The actors made it easier to understand by physically acting out some of what they were saying. My favorite character was the fool.  I think he was supposed to be a man, but the actor was a woman.  He was actually really smart, and knew everything that was going on in the town, but he pretended to be a fool. He was really funny and when you wanted him to do something you had to pay him.  I think he was the richest man in town, but nobody figured that out.

When the play was over, all of the actors came on stage.  I cheered them on, because I thought they did a really good job.  I would like to go back to see the holiday play, because I think it will be in American English.

Thanks for listening, and let me know what you think of the Twelfth Night.

Justin F.

4th Grade Funny Man

Monarch Academy


Editor’s Note:  While the land of Illyria is a mythical place, it most closely resembles the Adriatic Coast.  Justin has been CORRECTED!

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  1. Justin, glad to see you stuck with the show, even if it was a little hard to understand. The fact you saw the comedy in the play tells me you just might be a budding Shakespeare lover (like your mother). Articulating your opinion on a play, book, or anything in life isn’t always easy to do, and I think you did a pretty good job!

  2. Very informative narrative Justin. I probably will not watch this play but to tell the truth, your review made me feel like I was sitting in the theater, watching not only the play but the people in the theater. It’s very intuitive of you to notice the fool may very well be a very smart person, so it is in real life I tend to think. I look forward to your future reviews.

  3. You are very observant of your sourroundings and the play, even though it was hard to understand. I enjoyed reading your review of the play and believe you have the making of a good critic. You were open to the merits of the play despite the difficulty in understanding the language. Well, done, Justin, well done.

  4. Justin:
    Excellent review. Very insightful, well written and articulated. You captured the spirit of the play and the moment. Great concentration on what was going on both onstage and in the audience. Hope you get the opportunity to do more of these type of reviews…very soon!

  5. Justin your review was great! I’m so glad to see young people gain exposure and appreciation to Shakespeare, especially when it’s a comedy like Twelfth Night. Many people think Shakespeare was all gloom and doom, but he was actually a funny guy and apparently you two have some things in common since you are the “4th grade funny man.”

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