Last week, curtains came down on the Summer School 2016 with Shakespeare at British Council Kolkata. Children dressed as Titania, Ophelia, Shylock, Bassanio, Puck and a host of other characters regaled their parents with lines from Shakespeare’s famous plays. For three weeks, classes hummed with ‘To thine own self be true’ and ‘Romeo Romeo, where art thou Romeo!’ as children experimented with the bard’s sonnets, comedies and tragedies. Children were so eager to show what they had learnt and prepared for, that one little Hamlet forgot to die! Students were both happy and sad. One child summed up her feelings with “Heavy lightness”, an oxymoron she learnt on the course. Another student commented, “Why can’t classes at school be like British Council classes?” Parents said how much the children loved the experience. One mother said that her child had hardly ever spoken English before but has now been the narrator for a Shakespeare play. Prizes were awarded for costumes and for competitions, including art and favourite words, both real and invented: scrumplicious – a mixture of delicious and scrumptious, melancholy – described as a tricky word describing both sadness and happiness, synopsis, gargantuan, solicitious, and soliloquy – a word that a 12 year old student felt described him.
When asked to write about ‘My favourite actor’ one child wrote “My little brother is an awesome actor because whenever we have a fight and my parents rush in to stop us, he acts like he is the one who is hurt more!” Given below are the two winning entries:
A Day in the Life of Me
by Utsa Mohana Mukherjee, (13-15 years category)
I tap my foot restlessly on the polished airport floor, looking at the clock hanging above the boarding gate. Around me, lost souls rush about, trying to reach their gates on time while I wait, because I am too early. The nervousness, lurking in the pit of my stomach makes me feel nauseous as I think of the people I will have to face when I reach my destination. The place I ran away from years ago with a vow to be a better man. I have learnt lots of things, and the time has come for me to return. I am going home. Fear, that my parents won’t be forgiving, exists within me, but hope dwells too, and I hope that their love for me is enough. I hope this day in my life won’t end with disappointment but rather with the happiness of a long overdue, familiar reunion.
The Magic of Shakespeare
by Risha Sharma, (13-15 years category)
Sculptor of literary wonders
He who was a wise fool
Taught us lessons by depicting blunders
Kindled warmth in millions of hearts.
Ecstasy, violence, tragic plunders
Stories that over our hearts rule
Patient teachings that strike like thunder
Ever loyal heroes and their loving sweethearts
Admired by people everywhere
Respected by moral good
Enthralling millions, the magic of Shakespeare is beyond compare!