All the world's a stage, especially if you're a 12-year-old future actor.
"I love acting. It's my life," Zan Jabara said.
Along with 15 others, Zan is preparing for a weekend production of "The Tempest," produced by the L.A. Shakespeare for Kids program at Hale Middle School.
Headed by English and drama teacher Dwight Protho, the program started in 1981 after Protho heard students complaining that they found Shakespeare boring and irrelevant.
"So I thought we should just do it instead of talk about it."
The program now functions on a nonprofit basis, relying on donations to pay for the costumes and props used in plays such as "As You Like It" and "Romeo and Juliet."
"Kids really benefit from the early exposure," Protho said. "They are able to get interested in the meaning of the plays instead of just trying to comprehend the language."
Devon Gutekunst, 14, acting in his fifth L.A. Shakespeare production, idolizes filmmaker Quentin Tarantino.
"I think Shakespeare is pretty cool," Devon said. "He tells really good stories."
The free performances will be presented in the Hale multipurpose room Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Doors open 30 minutes prior to the shows. Hale Middle School is at 23830 Califa St., Woodland Hills.