Shakespeare Comes to Life at NSHA Middle School

Shakespeare Comes to Life at NSHA Middle School
By Ms. Carol Prisamt

On Wednesday, February 1st, the 8th grade students had the extraordinary opportunity to spend their day with teaching artists from the highly acclaimed, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, as they were introduced to the language of William Shakespeare through several interactive workshops. The program was planned to help alleviate the fear and intimidation many students experience when they are told that they are about to read their very first Shakespeare play.

Teaching artists, Ara and Gianna, set out to show the students that Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be performed, not simply read, so each student was given lines to recite and encouraged to use their entire bodies to express the drama of their words. The enthusiasm demonstrated by all, as they shouted out famous lines, while creating outrageously dramatic deaths was a sight to be seen. Our faculty was particularly impressed by the level of engagement demonstrated by our students for such a lengthy amount of time.

At the culmination of the program, our students were told an abridged version of the story of King Lear. They were then placed in small groups and given the task of creating a tableau that would depict a particular scene from the play. The boys and girls rose to the challenge with flying colors. They displayed great creativity and presented their tableaus with pride.

In the next few weeks, we will be tackling our first complete Shakespearean play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It is a lovely comedy which the students will, no doubt, enjoy. Little time will be spent sitting at our desks, as we have all learned, Shakespeare in motion is loads of fun.