Best of the Week 2021-2022: Excellence in College Prep


AP AND IB ENGLISH CLASSES ATTEND "THE TEMPEST" AT PLAYHOUSE SQUARE

IB and AP English Literature students traveled to Playhouse Square to see "The Tempest" performed live at the Hanna Theatre. Presented by Great Lakes Theater, "The Tempest" tells one of Shakespeare's famous stories of a shipwrecked king tempted by spirits and tormented by monsters as he faces the wrath of a betrayed conjurer. This comic and cathartic tale of romance and renewal tells a story of revenge yielding to redemption. Edsmen have been reading a performance script of "The Tempest" in class, supplying their own imaginations of how the play is unfolded, and finally had the chance to witness it brought to life through live theater. "Years ago, Mr. Joseph Serraglio started taking his senior students to see whatever Shakespeare play Great Lakes Theater was performing in the fall. When I started teaching AP Literature, and later IB Literature, I continued that tradition," says English Department Chair Andy Allen. "Seeing this play performed live really helps students understand what they read in class and, more importantly, a live performance allows them to feel viscerally the emotional truths the play seeks to convey." "The live performance really brought this piece to life in a way that I never imagined it could possess. Seeing the performance live made the play feel more personal to me. The skill and coordination each actor needs to pull off each scene is always breathtaking and something that can't be seen anywhere else besides live theater," says Maxwell Hoelker '22. "Personally I enjoyed the performance of the character Ariel and the various special effects he was given. As a magical spirit, I understood that it might be difficult to pull off some of his feats in a live performance but he was magnificent with the various audio tricks with distortion and enhancement or the cool puppet acting he did with other actors. He brought life into my favorite part of the play."

"I really enjoyed seeing the play the way it's supposed to be received by an audience - on stage. I am heavily involved with the Edwardian Players' Stage Crews, specifically the lighting and rigging crew, so it was really cool for me to see how Great Lakes Theater used lighting to create effects, a beautiful puppet shadow sequence, and adding string lights hidden behind loose cloth on the walls and ceiling of the theater," says John Kutney '22. "Experiencing live theater is important because it shows raw human talent in many forms. Watching actors play out 'The Tempest' helped me appreciate the storytelling in ways that aren't communicated through ink." "The most compelling aspect of the play was the creative liberties taken by the theater company in terms of gender roles. Although 'The Tempest' is written about all men, the use of female actors in contrast to the book brought a fresh influx of grander themes. This changed the play, not fundamentally, but in a way that brought a contemporary perspective and a more realistic portrayal of the issues within 'The Tempest,'" says Ian Harrington '22. "The live performance is a reflection of how one image can have infinite meanings, which is a core concept taught by Mr. Allen, that exhibits the beauty of writing when it evokes an emotion from the reader himself. When you see live theater in front of our own eyes, acted out by humans, it is an entirely different, invigorating experience."