The Bard meets The Beatles in Corbett Children's Theater

Corbett Childrens Theater presents Fab Four adaptation of Shakespeare
by: John Klicker, The Corbett Childrens Theater fairies sing “A Little Help From My Friends” during the group’s rehearsal Saturday, April 12. The production of Shakespeare’s classic “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” has been joined with music from The Beatles.

Cami Hildum, 7, stands on the stage at Corbett High School and belts out the tune.

'Picture yourself in a boat on a river/With tangerine trees and marmalade skies,' she sings.

When asked what she likes about The Beatles' 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,' Cami, a first-grader at Corbett Elementary School, thinks for a moment.

'I don't know what color marmalade is, but I think whatever color it is I like it.'

She also likes playing a fairy in William Shakespeare's romantic comedy 'A Midsummer Night's Dream: The Rock Musical,' which the Corbett Childrens Theater is putting on at the high school April 18, 19, 25 and 26.

Katherine Zieman, director, notes that the legendary bard's play is set to music from The Beatles.

'It turns out The Beatles' music was mostly written for this play because they wrote a lot about love, and they wrote a lot about peace,' she says.

She adds that the children are enthusiastic about doing a rock musical while speaking Elizabethan language.

'They've risen to the occasion, and they love their parts,' she says.

Matt Hammel, 16, a junior at Corbett, plays Oberon, king of the fairies in the play, and also plays guitar in the stage band. He says he enjoys plucking the strings to such Lennon-McCartney numbers as 'Lucy.'

'They're simple enough where they're fun to play, but they sound really great, and everyone knows them,' Matt says.

MacKenzie Lenz, 15, a sophomore at Corbett, is handling stage-managing duties. To a certain extent, working with younger actors, especially the elementary school children playing fairies, is bit like herding cats, she notes. Sometimes you have to go 'shhh.'

'You end up getting louder as you 'shhh' them,' she says with a laugh.

Having acted before, she knows stagehands like her don't 'get the glory,' but she's enjoying her duties nonetheless.

'It makes me feel real good to know I'm helping to put on this play, and it's really good,' she says.

Clara Gorma, 11, a sixth-grader at Corbett, says she likes playing Hermia, the object of affection for two men, Lysander and Demetrius, in the play. Hermia only loves Lysander, however, while her father, Egeus, wants her eyes set on Demetrius.

'She's very prim and proper, and she has this very kind of not necessarily mean but strict dad who wants her to marry,' Clara says.

The young actress says she enjoys both acting and singing, and is not shy about being on stage. She adds that the 'wonderful experience' will help her in the future.

'If I want a job, usually you're really nervous about a job interview,' she says. 'Just being on stage, you usually calm down and say your lines and act and don't get nervous.'

Chad Pulliam, 14, a Corbett eighth-grader, plays Demetrius and gets to sing 'I've Just Seen A Face.' Beatles' music, even though it was written in the 1960s, still has appeal, he says. 'It just has a lot of feeling in it. It's not the newer hip-hop songs. It has charisma.'

And if he gets scared on stage?

'Just 'Let It Be.' '

Bill and The Beatles

WHAT: The Corbett Childrens Theater presents 'A Midsummer Night's Dream: The Rock Musical,' featuring the music of The Beatles.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Fridays, April 18 and 25. 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturdays, April 19 and 26.

WHERE: Corbett High School Multi-Purpose Building, 35800 E. Historic Columbia River Highway, Corbett.

TICKETS: To reserve tickets, call 503-695-2296. Leave your name, phone number (in case of sell out issues), number of tickets, date and time of show desired; or e-mail: tickets

Tickets cost $9 for adults and $7 for students.

Tickets also are available at the door. Limited group rate matinees available for seniors as well as school or home-school groups of 10 or more. Groups must register in advance by phone.