Little Eyases

As we start rehearsals of The Tempest, with a cast of 30 that includes some 8 and 9-year-olds, this little excerpt from Hamlet has to be on our minds:

ROSENCRANTZ: …There is, sir, an aery of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top of question, and are most tyrannically clapp’d for’t. These are now the fashion….

HAMLET: What, are they children? Who maintains ’em? How are they escoted?

[Act 2, Scene 1]