Photos from EHS Flickr
The Shakesperience has been a project held together by the English department, where each grade is involved with a certain project involving the plays of Shakespeare. Read on about Ms. Molly Pugh's overview of the whole project, and what the 9th,10th and 12th graders have to say about their process of creating their works
Q:All grades have been doing Shakespeare projects. Could you explain each of them briefly?
The 9th grade students have presented their Julius Caesar monologues to their classes. 7 representatives are chosen from the classes to perform in front of the entire grade, and a special prize is given to the winner. This event has been a long ongoing tradition at EHS.
The 10th grade students are performing Macbeth as a group, where each English class is in charge of a particular scene of the play.
Due to the nature of electives, not every 11th grade student is reading Othello, but all of them have read a certain Shakespeare play, discussed about the piece, and made directory choices when reviewing it.
The 12th grade students have been doing three projects. The first is a pitch project, where they pitch for a concept of a contemporary Hamlet production. The second is a presentation of a Shaksperean play breaking the 5th wall. For this project, there are a few required elements, such as a woman, supernatural features, a clown or a fool character. The third is performing a Hamlet monologue, which the 9th graders watch.
Q: Why do you think having such an emphasis on Shakespeare is necessary?
Shakespeare has been honored for a long time at our school, and inherits love and reverance. The EHS faculty claims this inheritance on Shakespeare by creating a rigororus, expriental, and accessible experience for all students.
Q: So, the freshmen project is a soliloquy from the play Julius Caesar. What features do you look out from a well-delivered soliloquy?
I would say that a well-delivered soliloquy is one which conveys character’s intentions, making the audience feel something.
Q: How do you think delivering monologue will enhance the freshmen’s understanding of the play Julius Caesar?
Delivering a monologue is an accumulation of character and language study by looking at the character’s rhetoric appeals. By doing so, students can deeply understand the speech.
Q: Last year, the 10th graders were also delivering monologues. What prompted you to change that system to group performances?
Actually, not all 10th graders delivered monologues last year. Not all teachers incorporated in part of their class agenda. Also, as the classes who did present monologues only did it within their classes, we wanted a Collaborative grade level push experience by doing a collaborative system. We wanted to ‘up the ante,’
Q: What kind of elements do you look out in a good group performance?
A good group dynamic with thoughtful blocking, and teamwork, even from those who do not possess lines throughout the scene, make up a good group performance. That being said, it is okay to make mistakes, such as missing a certain timing to deliver a line or forgetting the line as a whole. This project is meant to be a big and exciting learning experience, as the English department has a growing mindset, where we learn from our mistakes.
Q: The protest literature junior elective class are doing pitch protest projects regarding the play Othello. How do you see the relation of protest to the play Othello?
Othello has been used by many directors to protest a variety of things. Any literature can be used as a form of protest. The way we perceive literature and our creativity determine what kind of form the protest will take shape in.
Q: There are other junior elective classes who have not done projects regarding Shakespeare. What future performance projects could we possibly expect from them?
The junior English class electives have made directory choices when reviewing Shakespeare play & movie adaptations of the play in depth, to prepare them for the rigorous 12th grade projects.
Q: The protest literature is also reviewing the 10th grade Macbeth performances. Why do you think it is necessary to have a student group assess another group of student?
Each grade project has a goal of preparing the students for the next grade. By learning how to act & observe more thoughtfully, 11th grades practice how to look more thoughtfully, in preparation for their 12th grade projects that involve many careful decision making skills. The 10th graders are leaning how to move more thoughtfully when acting. The 12th graders are leaning how to develop leadership skills through these difficult projects, and are also growing a sense of dedication from them. The 9th graders are able to stretch their imagination for their upcoming years of more Shakespeare projects.
Q: The senior class are creating artworks regarding Hamlet, of creating a modern interpretation of the play. What do you think is the importance of relating these plays to the modern world?
As it is the case with Hamlet, the gift of good literature is that they allow people to reflect and have insight on the times we lived through and the current time we live in.