Students explored the tragedies of William Shakespeare through scholarly reflection and dramatic performance. Freshmen, having studied Julius Caesar in English class, had the unique opportunity to further their understanding of the rich material by working with professional actors from Columbus-based Available Light Theatre. Over the course of multiple visits to Wellington, actors from the company delved into the play and analyzed themes of public versus private self, loyalty, and free will versus fate.
It was exciting for students to work with and perform alongside real actors. Maika Danford ‘20 found it very helpful. “They gave us really good feedback and suggestions on how to interpret scenes.”
For Emma Bond ‘20, the best part was pushing herself to try something new. “This experience really helped me stretch outside my comfort zone,” she said. “I’ve always had an appreciation for Shakespeare, but now I have a better understanding.”
Students in the upper school Hamlet class performed the Shakespearean tragedy in 15 minutes, compliments of famed playwright Tom Stoppard. A creative use of props and action conveyed through dramatic miming, covered any gaps in the writing, while the abridged text and speed in which the action took place brilliantly emphasized the play’s frenetic and chaotic descent into the depths of Hamlet’s mind. Is the titular character mad or merely the victim of circumstance, forced to work through the emotional terrain of losing a father and seeing mom rapidly remarry…an uncle. Students played to great effect, and their nuanced understanding of the complex text translated beautifully to the time constraints. The profound power of Shakespeare’s “words, words, words” were not lost.