Theater experience enriching for students

Published 9:12 am Wednesday, April 1, 2009

To the Editor:

On Friday, students from J.P. King Middle School got to experience a fantastic performance of “Romeo and Juliet” by the Virginia Stage Co. at Franklin High School.

This was no ordinary interpretation of Shakespeare’s masterpiece. Imagine thumping dance-party music, or Juliet sharing her heart’s pain on You Tube or Romeo and his buddies with a Handy Cam debating the virtues of love. The theater company created an upbeat, relevant and incredibly powerful show that speaks to anyone. In addition to the performance, the company conducted workshops on Thursday for some J.P. King students so that they could participate in Friday’s performance. These kinds of experiences are so enriching for all our students and we can, as a community, all be proud of how these young people conducted themselves during the workshops and the performance.

I was told that this group from J.P. King was one of the best behaved groups they had had as an audience of late, and that our workshop participants were a joy to work with. Middle schoolers are often thought to be too young to appreciate the arts, especially something like the challenge of Shakespeare. But I can tell you that there were moments during the performance on Friday that you could have heard a pin drop. That is the power of the arts.

I would like to thank the leadership of this school system for pursuing opportunities for all our children to have the cultural enrichment that the Virginia Stage Co. and others like them bring to our community. A special thanks to Ken Raybuck and to Franklin Southampton Charities, who made these opportunities a reality. Bravo!

Teri Zurfluh