Education: Sophocles in the Slums

The solidly Negro area around Philadelphia's Chester A. Arthur School is the kind of poverty-ridden slum where more than 40% of the people are on relief and illegitimacy is common. Yet last week some of the area's most "hopeless" youngsters aged eight to twelve, put on a boffo production of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex in the Yeats translation. They had already staged Cocteau's Orphee at their 60-seat Philadelphia Theater for Children, an abandoned slum building. Equally adept at Shakespeare, the kids cheerily greeted each other with "What ho, varlet?" and "How now, spirit! Whither wander you?" The force behind all this is...

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