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Shakespeare Comes Alive for Seniors in "Comedy of Errors"

The senior class headed out last week on their all-day Shakespeare field trip, a tradition continued by the English department for the last five years. Each year, seniors study one of Shakespeare's plays and then have a chance to see it in action. This year's play was "The Comedy of Errors."

The goal of the field trip is for students to "experience first-hand Shakespeare’s colorful characters, poetic language, and timeless themes," said English teacher Stella Schindler. "When we read Shakespeare, we cannot simply read for 'information.' He offers great insight into why we love, hate, grieve, laugh, hurt, and forgive the way we do, and he expresses these experiences in ways that elevate our minds and hearts, perhaps even presenting us with a deeper understanding of our own motivations and relationships.  With his universal themes, we discover that social or political predicaments 'back then' are relevant even now."

The play may not look exactly how students imagined while reading, Ms. Schindler explained. They are staged in a variety of historical and geographic settings, and the language is shifted from Shakespeare's time to contemporary, everyday speech.

"Because of their study beforehand, [students] also have found it invigorating to be able to formulate opinions about director’s choices, omissions, and portrayals of characters, allowing them to become part of the conversation people have been having about Shakespeare for the last 400 years," said Ms. Schindler.

"Shakespeare in himself is a lot to take in. He was not just any simple playwright. He had an intricate language and use of rhythm that in freshman year I did not understand," said Amoni Hawkins '19. Studying the play senior year, and then seeing it in person gave her additional context to understand it. "I thought the play was absolutely hilarious. You could really see how the actors matched their energy to the same level that the crowd provided."

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