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Spotlights camp puts a new spin on Shakespeare

July 26, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Shakespeare is coming back in style with the help of the Cumberland Valley School of Music Spotlights Camp and some contemporary humor.

The camp at Wilson College is made up of 17 students and director Jenny Kreyl Shoeman. The students will perform a Shakespearean Trio, which includes shortened versions of "Beatrice and Benedick," "Hamlet" and "Romeo and Juliet."

"We like to add elements of modern day so kids can relate ... (and) they aren't overwhelmed by the complexity of the language," she said.

Kreyl Shoeman said many people are intimidated by Shakespeare, but this play makes it more understandable to the actors and the audience.

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"They're completely comical," she said of the play, which was written by the Reduced Shakespeare Co. "It takes tragedies and makes them into comedies."

The spotlights camp has been around for four years and performs a different Shakespeare play each year.

"I teach drama full time in Philadelphia, and I like to spend my summers in Chambersburg because that's where I'm from," Kreyl Shoeman said.

Lindsay Whitelock, 18, of Chambersburg, has been attending the camp since it began.

"When I started this camp, I liked Shakespeare, but doing a play makes it come alive and you can understand it better," she said.

Prior to this camp, Whitelock attended the voice and drama camp, also through the Cumberland Valley School of Music. When she reached the age limit for the camp, she signed up for the spotlights camp.

"I love every minute of this camp," said Whitelock, who plays the narrator in "Romeo and Juliet."

Kevin Miller is taking his first stab at the spotlights camp. He also has acted in various church plays and took the voice and drama camp.

"I think Shakespeare is funny all the way around even when you don't mess with it," Kevin said. "I hope everybody gets a good laugh out of it."

John Tabor, 16, of Waynesboro, Pa., is attending the camp for the first time because of encouragement from others.

"I thought it would be a good experience," he said.

John has acted in several independent shows, as well as productions with the Greencastle (Pa.) Amateur Players.

"I love Shakespeare," he said. "A lot of my friends find it complicated, (but) a lot of people are becoming more interested in acting and Shakespeare."

John plays the role of Hamlet, and looks forward to the performance being "really funny."

It also is the first time that 13-year-old Monica Miller has been involved with the spotlights camp. She said the play's adaptation makes Shakespeare more understandable to her.

"It's just so random and funny," said Monica, who plays the guard Bernardo in "Hamlet."

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