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monday

Getting students pumped about William Shakespeare is a tough gig, even for educators used to making such notoriously snooze-worthy subjects interesting. For American University professor of theater Caleen Sinnette Jennings, the challenge is twice as difficult: She not only exposes her regular classes to Shakespeare, but she also teaches other teachers how to present the bard’s works to their students. In an educator’s guide to Shakespeare, Jennings shares how she’s brought the plays and sonnets to college campuses, middle-school classrooms—including ESL and special-needs students—and a battered women’s shelter. The professor/playwright’s mission to bring Shakespeare to all also includes works of her own. I Heart Gertrude is the story of a struggling actor in a one-man version of Hamlet whose life and views on Shakespeare are shaken by a visit from Queen Gertrude. The play incorporates two of the rules she preaches to all her students: Tackling Shakespeare is risky but worth it—and there are no wrong ways to interpret or perform it. The staged reading, which runs in conjunction with the Washington Women in Theatre’s “New Plays (Un)Plugged” program, begins at 8 p.m. at the H Street Playhouse, 1365 H St. NE. $12. (703) 237-0711. (Sarah Godfrey)