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THE POND

BY DEBRA M E Y E RS

Around

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Shakespeare:

Energy Through Revelation

SIX PROFESSIONAL ACTORS from the

Lenox, Massachusetts, based Shakespeare & Company visited Taft in January for a full day of hands-on workshops built on the “classical ideals and visceral experience of Shakespeare’s work: collaboration, commitment to language, physical prowess, and the embodied voice.” They were part of Taft’s monthlong immersive Shakespearean study, and gave students the opportunity to lift the Bard’s words from the page, breathing new life into the texts through voice and movement. “The workshops were designed to 18

Taft Bulletin / SPRING 2019

provide background for understanding the work as performance, not simply as literature,” notes English Department Head Ken Hincker. “Shakespeare’s work was created to be performed and to be seen. Performing it both deepens understanding and makes it more accessible.” Performance is a central component of Taft’s monthlong dive into Shakespeare, a movement that gained momentum seven years ago, when the English department committed to a school-wide study and celebration of all things Shakespearean. In practice, says Hincker, that means that every student in every grade is not only

reading Shakespeare during the month of January, but that all students are invited to experience the Bard’s work through a variety of performance mediums and venues. Including lower mid Macbeth recitations. “Late in January, lower mids memorize short monologues or sonnets to perform for their individual classes,” says Hincker. “Class winners then compete in an evening of Shakespearean performance before the full lower mid class and English faculty.” The event goes back 10 or 12 years, Hincker says, and used to be held in the Faculty Room in front of a roaring fire, with sweet treats for all, and

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Spring 2019 Taft Bulletin  

Spring 2019 Taft Bulletin