The Weber School's 9th-grade class recently experienced Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in a dynamic and immersive manner, thanks to a collaboration between the English department and The Atlanta Shakespeare Company (ASC). Organized by English teacher Vanessa Reid, with support from colleagues Holly Chesser, Dean of English, and Missy Davis, this event brought the timeless story of star-crossed lovers to life, engaging students beyond the traditional classroom setting.
The Atlanta Shakespeare Company captivated students with an abbreviated yet powerful Romeo and Juliet performance, setting the stage for a day filled with exploration and creativity. Following the performance, students participated in acting workshops, where ASC's Teaching Artists led them through interactive activities designed to deepen their understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare's work. These workshops, known as "Playshops," encouraged students to get on their feet and explore the text through performance. Various breakout activities, including a Shakespearean "insult slam" contest, studies of puns and oxymorons, and a creative exercise in sonnet writing, enriched the day and allowed students to further engage with Shakespeare's language and stories.
Freshman Kayla Furie summed up her experience enthusiastically: "Creating Shakespearean insults with my friends was the best part of the day, but honestly, getting our entire grade to have fun with Shakespeare made me realize that even though people say Shakespeare is so complex, it really isn’t something to be afraid of, it's something to have fun with!”
Reflecting on the importance of studying Shakespeare, Ms. Reid highlighted the timeless appeal of his storytelling and the relevance of his language. "Shakespeare's work was performed for nobles and everyday people alike, written in a way that still resonates in 2024," Reid noted. "Studying his language, we're not just exploring age-old texts but also connecting with literary devices that shape modern storytelling. Shakespeare's influence can be seen in contemporary works, showing that stories truly connect us across time."
The day's activities concluded with students performing scenes from Romeo and Juliet, allowing them to put into practice the skills and insights gained from the workshops. This hands-on approach enhanced their comprehension of the play and highlighted the value of interactive learning in making classical literature accessible and engaging for today's students.