The Theater At Monmouth (TAM) brought their school production of Shakspeare’s Henry IV, Part 1 to the Lakeside Theater on October 18, thanks to the invitation by high school English teacher, Mr. St. John, and financial beneficence of the Rangeley Friends of the Arts (RFA). Rangeley Lakes middle school and high school students sat in rapt attention as battles raged and comic relief played out on stage. Students proved their engagement during a 15-minute talkback after the play’s conclusion, asking thoughtful and insightful questions of the actors, about the process, their experiences, and Shakespeare the bard.

Comprehending Shakespeare at any age has a high level of difficulty, but when seated in an audience mere feet from the action it becomes more visceral and, thus, comprehensible. TAM presents abridged versions from Shakespeare’s folio every autumn and offers it to Maine schools at a relatively affordable price, given it is subsidized by the National Endowment of the Arts. This was the twelfth year in a row that TAM visited the backwoods of Rangeley with their enriching talent.

The RFA’s continuing mission to bring the arts to life retains its promise to provide our community’s youth a safe place to express themselves and grow. Between its after-school program, supporting the RLRS Drama Club’s annual musical, summer camps, and many other offerings, the RFA fills a need we would miss if it weren’t here, so please support them whenever possible.

Thank you, Mr. St. John, RFA and TAM, for another wonderful Shakespeare production. His work is timeless, and to understand his work is to better understand ourselves, rebellions, relationships, foibles and all.

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