From the classroom to the theater

Just the name Shakespeare makes most students shutter in fear, but not for Miss Schmitt’s seventh period class. They decided to take on the master in Miss Schmitt’s semester long Shakespeare elective. Around 20 brave juniors and seniors took on the challenge of Shakespeare, and most other students just considered them insane. I have heard multiple students say, “Why would you ever choose to read Shakespeare if you didn’t have to?” That’s a valid question, but senior A.J. Comarata has an answer. “Taking a tough class like this in high school will make it easier when we have to read it in college, and Miss Schmitt helps us be able to understand it, and she makes it fun,” said Comarata. The Shakespeare class is known to act out some of the plays to help everybody get a better feel of what’s going on, and will also to add a little more comedy to the play. As you know, there are women in Shakespeare’s plays, so someone has to dress up for the part and read as a woman. Senior Kenny Wengert is known for his stellar performance as a Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew. When I asked him about this he said, “I deserve a Tony for that performance.” On Tuesday, April 2, Miss Schmitt’s Shakespeare class along with Mr. Reiring’s AP and Honors English classes got to go see A Midsummer Night’s Dream downtown. As a part of the AP English class, I was privileged enough to go see the play performed by the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. The Shakespeare class was almost finished reading the play before they went to see it, so they knew a lot about the plot, and were more excited to see the play. Some people went into the theater with the idea that the play was going to be boring. “That was the first play I’ve ever seen, and I didn’t think I was going to like it. It was so much better than I thought it was going to be. I think reading the play before hand made it a lot easier to follow because I was already used to how they were talking,” said Coon. Mr. Reiring’s classes, even without reading it before hand, really enjoyed the play. Stefano Pinzon from one of Mr. Reiring’s classes said, “I liked how they used special effects with the lighting, sound effects, and props to make it more entertaining. The play was much better than I though it was going to be because I don’t really like Shakespeare, but they did such a good job making modern adaptations and made it very enjoyable through humor.” Mr. Reiring is no stranger to Shakespeare. He said he has seen The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream numerous times. Mr. Reiring said, “I love that theater. We are lucky and blessed to have something like that inCincinnati.” He loves not only how talented the actors, actresses, and directors are but also how they cast their actors and actresses. He told me that they cast young and vibrant people that put on phenomenal performances. They don’t usually have people working for them more than a couple of years. By casting young new people they keep interest in Shakespeare up for young people. Andrew Hilvers, from the Shakespeare class, said, “I thought the play was great. I really like how they set it in the 1940s.” The setting being in the 1940s surprised most of the people in the theater. I thought it was really cool how they made it more modern and relatable than it would have been if it was set in Shakespeare’s time. Miss Schmitt also really enjoyed the play. “The setting made it connected to the audience,” she said. The theater where we saw the play was very small, but in a good way. The actors and actresses are so close that it gives the theater a very intimate feel. Miss Schmitt was also very surprised by the play being set in the 1940s ; that is one of the great things about the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. They make each performance different and relatable to the audience. “I loved how they had the women be more comedic than they usually are in Shakespeare’s plays,” said Schmitt. The humor in this play really brought it to life. Not many people went into the play thinking they were going to be laughing out loud, but they were just too funny not to. So when I asked Miss Schmitt if this would become a yearly trip, she said, “Oh, absolutely!”