Shakespearean sci-fi writer visits Shalaha Middle School

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Shahala Middle School — "In time so long ago begins our play / In star-crossed galaxy far, far away." That's the opening of "William Shakespeare's Star Wars," a popular mash-up of space adventure and Renaissance poetry, as authored by Ian Doescher.

Doescher, a native Portlander, visited Shahala Middle School on March 13 to talk about Shakespeare, writing, and his bestselling work — including the upcoming sequel, "The Empire Striketh Back!" and the projected third part, "The Jedi Doth Return."

It's all part of the school library's monthlong focus on science fiction and fantasy. Teacher-librarian Paul Warner said he oriented the kids by screening scenes from the original Star Wars movie and then reading those same scenes in Doescher's script, where they're all faithfully rendered in Shakespearean iambic pentameter.

Doescher ran scenes during his visit too, reading the part of Darth Vader while Shahala students played stormtroopers and Princess Leia.

"It's such a great way to introduce Shakespeare to students," said Warner.