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latinx theatre; latinx plays; latinx shakespeares; bilingual theatre; bilingual Shakespeares; bilingual Shakespeare

Miguel’s Shakespearean Adventure

Directed by Allen O’Reilly

Georgia Shakespeare

Atlanta, GA

 

Miguel’s Shakespearean Adventure (2005)

 

 

In 2005, Georgia Shakespeare produced an original work for children, a play written for children’s education and outreach entitled Miguel’s Shakespearean Adventure. Georgia Shakespeare collaborated with the Latin American Association to produce this children’s play as part of an outreach initiative for elementary schoolchildren in the Latinx community.[1]  In it, a little boy named Miguel reads Don Quijote and then has a dream in which he becomes an apprentice in Shakespeare’s acting company in London.

 

The script utilized the similarities in status, achievement, and time period between Cervantes and Shakespeare to appeal to growing Latinx populations in Atlanta and the surrounding areas.  Miguel’s Shakespearean Adventure was Georgia Shakespeare’s first bilingual show, and four bilingual actors performed all of the roles and delivered the lines alternately in English and Spanish.  All materials and advertisements for the production were in both languages, and a bilingual study guide was created for teachers.

 

According to the press statement, “the impetus for the project came from a grant from Coca-Cola's Goizueta Foundation, which required Georgia Shakespeare to develop an elementary school tour.”[2] Allen O’Reilly, Director of Education, met with teachers with whom he had previously partnered to develop the concept for Miguel’s and "‘They kept saying it would be great if we had a bilingual show.’”[3] O’Reilly stated that Georgia Shakespeare receives “grants and funding from The Georgia Council for The Arts, The NEA, [and] the Georgia Humanities Foundation.  Implicit in the funding is the need and target to [sic] reach out to underserved communities.”[4]

 

The show was revived the following year and toured to the Outrageous Fortune Theatre Company in El Paso, Texas.  O’Reilly said that Miguel’s was moderately successful, though “one of the criticisms was that the Spanish was ‘European’ as opposed to Mexican.  The tour in El Paso was tweaked to accommodate [those] communities' students and was more successful there.”[5] The specificity of the local Latinx population drove linguistic changes, but the plot detail remained the same.

CARLA DELLA GATTA

FEBRUARY 2022

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[1] Prior to this production, Georgia Shakespeare had performed scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Latin American Association. The goal for those performances was also in the vein of outreach to students, to offer English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students an experience to become better acquainted with the English language.

[2] Leonard Pallats, “Shakespeare Play Used to Promote Respect,” Seattle Post Intelligencer. 22 Oct 2005. Web.

[3] Pallats.

[4] Allen O’Reilly, Message to the Author, 1 Sep. 2011.

[5] O’Reilly.

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