It's not a new idea for a local theater company to offer dramatic experience for youth: Naples is blessed with them in every style of theater. Naples Players has its highly successful KidzAct; Gulfshore Playhouse has its Star After School programs and summer camps; Opera Naples offers summer youth Gilbert and Sullivan productions and even brings them into company productions such as "Faust."
Until now, however, only TheatreZone has offered the young on-campus education potential, with its home at the G&L Theatre at the Community School of Naples.
Joining it is Shakespeare in Paradise, which has opened a student- and adult-thespian production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Barron Collier High School. The theater company, under the experienced directorship of John McKerrow, is bringing a new generation into the wily word play of the bard, pulling it out of literature books and into exuberant costumes and coached scripts.
The students in this production, along with the focused help of Pam Grabczynski and Chris Johnson on the Barron Collier faculty, have teamed with Shakespeare in Paradise to create everything from its lighting to its business office functions to — of course — its characters.
The play continues at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday; tickets are $20 at the door.
As Sudoku is to math, so the Bard is to language, and the chance to appreciate and perform Shakespeare, as it was meant to be, is bound to enrich both the students and the troupe. To see the logic behind Puck's antics, the rocky romance of Lysander and Hernia and the wacky troop of spell benders who jinx them all is 180 degrees stronger onstage than on-page.
To paraphrase one of the play's most famous lines: Lord, what friends these mortals be!