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Dudley Players take on Shakespeare (video)

Feb. 22, 2014 at midnight
Updated Feb. 22, 2014 at 8:23 p.m.

Gitanjai Mehan, right, in the role of Benedick leans in to deliver her dialogue during the morning  performance of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" with a cast from Dudley Elementary school.

Carolyn Conway, 11, raised her fists in air as she walked across the VISD Fine Arts Center stage as part of a Dudley Elementary School production of William Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing."

Carolyn, playing the role of Beatrice, partook in a witty repartee with Gitanjai Mehan, 11, playing the role of Benedick.

"I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me," said Carolyn, a fifth-grade Dudley student.

A total of 22 Dudley Unicorns were part of the cast.

Before the production, Dudley Gifted and Talented Coordinator Mary Silkey had her students learning about Elizabethan England.

"They have been immersed in the poetic Elizabethan language," Silkey stated in a news release. "Most have become quite competent at interpreting meaning."

As one of the play's main characters, memorization became part of Carolyn's daily ritual.

"The trick was to just to flow with it," Carolyn said. "I felt really nervous, and I was afraid people were going to laugh at me, but I just kept my eyes away from them."

Victoria New Life Assembly Pastor Efrain Pena arrived for the early show - the students gave an encore performance Valentine's Day evening as well as a morning performance.

"I'm here to show them that the church is here for them," Pena, 52, said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to encourage them with our presence here."

During the show, 10-year-old Samantha Smith, playing the role of Balthasar, sang "Sigh No More."

"It was so nerve-wracking," Samantha said. "But I finally got over it."

Christian Denton, 11, played the role of Friar Francis.

Christian said despite some setbacks that initially occurred backstage, the cast was able to push through them in the end.

"I just love working with everybody," Christian said. "It's so much fun."



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