Monday, May 19, 2008

Doing Shakespeare in the Park

Dylan PolkOn the way to school Wednesday morning, Dylan told me that his Drama class was going to be performing several Shakespeare skits during 5th period at Laurel Park on Friday.

I told him I would contact the Log Cabin Democrat to see if they would be interested in covering the story. When I called the paper, the receptionist transferred me to another department and since no one answered the phone I left a voicemail with all the pertinent details.

On Friday, I picked up my daughter and son, and took them to the park to watch Dylan perform (he's in the red shirt playing Macbeth).

The Log Cabin Democrat reporter, photographer, Rachael, Brady, and I were the only people in attendance other than the students and drama teacher. We had a lot of fun watching the kids perform. There were several funny scenes, but the person laughing the loudest and most often was their teacher, Mr. Spiridigliozzi. He's a real hoot.

After the last scene, we were saying our goodbyes and about to leave when Mr. S. (that's what his students call him) approached me. He asked if I was the one who had contacted the paper. I told him that I was and he said, "That's great. Thanks for doing that."

Although Dylan's picture didn't make the newspaper (see below), he was happy to see us in the audience!

Shakespeare in the park CHS drama students perform various Shakespeare scenes


Love, romance, death and tragedy filled the air at Laurel Park on Friday afternoon when A.J. Spiridigliozzi's drama students took the study of Shakespeare out of the classroom.

The ninth- and 10th-grade students enrolled in Spiridigliozzi's Drama I class at the east campus of Conway High School were given the chance to perform scenes from various Shakespeare plays as a fun way to wrap up the Elizabethan period in their theater history unit.

"I didn't really give them a lot of direction for these scenes because the cool thing about Shakespeare is that you can really make it your own," Spiridigliozzi said.A.J. Spiridigliozzi teaching his drama class

The students had been learning plays from Macbeth to Romeo and Juliet and practicing stage combat and death scenes during class. Spiridigliozzi said part of the students' Shakespeare assignment was to also break the acts down into contemporary context to make sure they understood the plot of the scenes they were rehearsing.

"After we did all of the class work at school, I wanted to make sure they saw a real Shakespeare scene and performing for each other not only teaches them acting, but how to be a good audience," Spiridigliozzi said.

Spiridigliozzi said he wanted the students to get a feel for how plays were performed during the days of William Shakespeare by dealing with a limited set at the park, a concrete slab with four pillars, and the noise that goes with acting outside. He said this was something Elizabethan actors dealt with regularly and a good way to hone any actor's skills.

Kelsey Troutman and Brittany Boone Kelsey Troutman and Brittany Boone, drama students who portrayed two of the witches in a scene from Macbeth, said they have really enjoyed reading the works of Shakespeare.

"Being out here today is a fun way to get away from the school atmosphere, but even in school, drama is the best class ever," Troutman said.

According to Spiridigliozzi, the students in his Drama I course have little to no acting experience and are just testing the waters to see if the world of drama is something they would like to pursue.

Colton Johnson, who participated in a love scene from Romeo and Juliet and is fairly new to acting, said his favorite part about being involved in the class is its relaxed feel.

"You can really be yourself in the class, whether we're learning in the room or out in the park acting," Johnson said. "You just do what you feel and you don't have to care about what anyone else thinks."

Source: here

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