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Summer 2003
Will Power
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Other universities may teach Shakespeare, but at UCLA the Bard of Avon's presence is so real it's as if Westwood had been transported back to the heart of Elizabethan England

By Clara Sturak '91
Illustration by Charles Hess
and Nicholas Pavkovic

IT IS STANDING-ROOM-ONLY in the Charles E. Young Grand Salon of Kerckhoff Hall. The audience of students dressed in shorts and sandals, men in suits, families with children and ladies outfitted for an evening of theater is quiet, rapt, as Arthur, the young Duke of Brittany, beseeches Hubert, an adviser to the King, to spare him a horrible fate:

"Will you put out mine eyes?
These eyes that never did nor never shall
So much as frown on you."

His pleas are heartbreaking. The crowd holds its breath.

The play is King John, among William Shakespeare's least-known works. One member of the audience has come all the way from North Carolina just to see the rarely performed history (her goal is to see every one of Shakespeare's works performed live before her 30th birthday). For their part, the players — members of the UCLA Shakespeare Reading and Performing Group, almost all of them non-actors — are glad that the show went off without a hitch.

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