The kids who attended the Newport Beach Public Library’s “Seasoned with Theatre” program Saturday may not have appreciated it, but they got to play some of the most iconic roles on the stage: Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Stanley Kowalski in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” the dancers from “West Side Story.” For that matter, they also got to play dead.
During the opening hour of the theater club’s first meeting, instructors Tom Shelton and Diana Burbano — both cast members from South Coast Repertory — led an exercise to get the young actors accustomed to taking directions. When the instructors shouted, “Hamlet!”, the kids dropped to one knee and replied, “To be or not to be!” When they blurted out, “Streetcar!”, the prodigies clutched their faces in Marlon Brando fashion and wailed, “Stella!”
And when the order came for “dramatic death,” well, the kids just had to use their imaginations.
“I want you to take three seconds to die in the most dramatic way possible without falling on anybody else,” Burbano told the crowd of three dozen kids — who did not disappoint — in the library’s meeting room.