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Shakesperience 2017: Every Moment Filled with Excitement

Mary-Francis Kobelt, Drama Student, Bishop’s University

I think back on this course and I have to say it was wonderful if not life-changing. Every moment of the week was filled with excitement and an opportunity to learn. With an oh-so passionate professor like Jessica, eager and excited students, inspiring and very talented actors willing to share their wisdom and amazing productions to watch, I learnt a colossal amount of things in such a short period of time. I could never have gained all of this experience and knowledge in a regular course; sitting in a class room.

Jessica prepared an amazing week for us students. She worked tirelessly to make this course happen and man did her hard work pay off. The week was jam packed with activities planned for us. If we were not watching a show; we were at a dance workshop with actors from the Guys and Dolls production, or we were taking a tour of the costume shop or we were at a meet and greet with actors from a show we just watched. If there was a moment to spare, we would find a spot and Jessica would grace us with a lecture. This trip would not be the same without a passionate professor like Jessica, who is willing not only to teach us, but also listen and hear out our thoughts and opinions.

Because of the wide variety of ages in this group – some people being students and others students of life —there were so many different opinions that came across throughout shakesperience. Every single person saw something different on stage and it was great to hear these different ideas, questions and comments from all my intelligent peers. Some of the students made me see the plays we watched completely differently. It is mind blowing how close you can get with people in just one week. I can honestly say that I have made friends for life because of this trip.

Thanks to Jessica, we got to meet actors from every single production. It was amazing opportunity for me as a drama student, to be able to speak to these amazing actors and hear about their backgrounds. They were all so humble and lovely people and it was such an incredible experience to dialogue and learn from these talented actors.

The plays themselves were all so different and exciting. We were told not to hold back on our opinions. Just because this was a Stratford production does not mean that it is irrefutably perfect and we as students need to be critical of what we see on stage. However, even if I did have some criticism, there wasn’t a show that I did not believe redeemed them-self with other qualities within the production. Every single show we watched had at least one moment in it that really spoke to me. All the productions were so different and we were so lucky to see such a wide variety of shows in one week, from a light-hearted musical, Guys and Dolls, to a Greek tragedy Bakkhai.

Most importantly seeing Shakespeare live in a theatre is so important. Reading and studying Shakespeare is important, however, actually being able to hear the words uttered in a performance makes you see and understand and appreciate the words so much more. There is nothing like watching a talented actor who understands and has studied every single word and is able to convey the right emotion so that the audience can have that same understanding. It is incredible and is an understanding that is impossible to experience in a classroom. This is why this course is so important.

This course has been life-changing for me and I think that it is important for any drama, English student to experience. Watching Shakespeare being acted out on stage is so important and everyone should have the opportunity to take this class and experience Shakesperience.

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