By: Caitlyn Daniel
Here at OlivePlants Co-Op we have so many exciting classes. Most recently there has been quite a buzz around Mrs. Dawn’s Shakespeare Class. I know, I know! Shakespeare class? Buzzworthy?
They’re having fun learning despite the “thithers and thous”
The last play Mrs. Dawn Hays’ Shakespeare Literature class learned about was Much Ado About Nothing. This play is a romantic comedy written by William Shakespeare that closely resembles his Midsummer’s Night Dream. In this play, we are introduced to Leonato, father of Hero and uncle of Beatrice, at his house awaiting the arrival of captain Don Pedro and some of his most trusted men, Claudio and Benedick, and the less trustworthy Don Jon. The plot thickens when Claudio falls for Hero and asks for her hand and marriage, and the others plot to throw Benedick and Beatrice together, despite their past lover’s quarrels. But despite the fun and games, Don Jon plots revenge for his loss of the war.
Through the course of reading this book, students were taught the effects of gossip with exercises and reading through the play aloud. All students participated in a Shakespearean Compliment and Insult Competition. In the compliment competition, the winner was Makayla with her exquisite tribute, “fresh, honey-tongued star” which is now the only thing a boy could say to make me swoon! I’m partially kidding. The runner-ups for this project were Isabelle Hewett, Ben Hays, and Katie Belle Oliver. For the insult competition, Isabel Petrus won with the scorn, “peevish, cold-blooded dunghill.” Yikes! The runner-ups were Carolyn Hurtado and Kenton Williams. You can find the runner-up flattery and contempt on the Olive Plants Facebook page.
As for the reading aloud, each student was cast and read for a character, but here are the main characters;
Claudia – Beatrice
Isabel Petrus – Hero
Ben Hays – Claudio
Kenton – Benedick
Brian Hays – don Pedro
Dawn Hays – don Jon
Isabelle Hewett – Leonato
Carolyn Hurtado – Dogberry, Ursula
Katie Belle Oliver – Margaret
Harlee Sims – Conrade
Makayla – Balthasar
Chris – Borachio
Each student that I have asked about the class has said they always have a good time. Theater has the strange ability to bring out the best in people, even the shy and timid people feel a new confidence in the fact that everyone around them is doing the same things they are. With silly voices and mischievous looks, every student is included in this class and has a blast. If the opportunity arises that your child could sign up for this Shakespeare class, I highly suggest you take it! Even if they are skeptical at first about their reading aloud skills, remind them that it is Shakespearean and no one can read it completely correctly without practice!
Shakespeare is a great way to spend time with people and get to know their personalities. When you have the opportunity to make a character your own without the stress of figuring out how they would respond it is the perfect way to encourage children and teenagers to relax and let their creativity flow! I also HIGHLY suggest if the opportunity arises for your student to see the play they have read recently put on by a community, college, or professional theater that you take him or her! Even if they don’t seem too interested, I can promise you, any Shakespeare comedy you see put on live will be enjoyable.