Discussing the options at Southwest High's "summer enrichment" program at the supper table, our 11-year-old made it pretty clear that "Much Ado About Shakespeare" is not for her. She went so far as to suggest that Shakespeare is for "loser dweebs" like her loser dweeb stepdad. I have to admit, the peppy course description, emphasizing how kids only THINK Shakespeare is boring, protested way too much. Also, I've recently reread Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, and, even putting aside language difficulties, the plays are disorienting.
I mean mainly that the plots don't make very much sense. The whole set-up to King Lear seems implausible. Why does the king insist that his daughters flatter him? Considering that he does, why won't Cordelia play along? It's preposterous. In Macbeth, the two principals seem to trade characters off stage, between scenes. First, he's cracking under the stress while she tries to prop him up; then, next time she's on stage, it's her mind that's diseased and he's putting on his armor.
Hamlet is the most perplexing. It's been pointed out that, in the old play from which Shakespeare took the story, Hamlet is a mere boy, the king knows he knows, and the boy feigns madness in order not to be immediately killed. Shakespeare's changes remove the motivation for the main character to pretend to be crazy, yet his main character pretends to be crazy, too. It's a strategy without an objective.
Maybe the easiest true thing to say about this is that plots and plausibility don't help create in the theatre a whirling nightmare of an experience. If it makes sense, it won't seem disturbing enough. I don't think these plays are boring but I can see why normal young people wouldn't care for them.