Party like it’s 1616

Freshmen celebrate Shakespeare

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Party like it’s 1616

Tori Jozwiak, Reporter

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The year may be 2016, but that doesn’t mean that English teacher Julie Wilkins and her class couldn’t celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary of his death and the kicking off of her unit on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Wilkins wanted to find a better way to have kids understand, rather than be overwhelmed by, the language of Romeo and Juliet and to spark an interest and enthusiasm for Shakespeare’s writing.

“Seeing the students have so much fun learning in an atmosphere outside the classroom was my favorite part,” Wilkins said. “I loved seeing them have fun, but still feel like they were learning something.”

The entire freshman class was able to see Romeo and Juliet performed live by the cast from A Crew of Patches, a theatre company that specialize in Shakespearean plays.

The passion of the performers spoke to some of the students.

“I liked when they first saw each other because he was so in love with her. It was heart warming,” freshman Jalen Snell said.

After the play, students that were in Wilkins’ period D, F and G period classes celebrated Romeo and Juliet style. For roughly five years now, Wilkins has been organizing stagecraft like combat techniques and juggling so that her classes can  experience what life was like during that time.

Freshman Quincy Johnson brought stage props like juggling balls, the swords. His father, Philip Johnson, has a degree in acting and is part of Live Theatre Union and Actor’s Equity Union. He came in and taught combat moves and a juggling routine.

“Kids tend to think that stuff back then was weird and absurd, like juggling and sword fighting,” Johnson said. “But I think it gave the kids an understand of why people back then did what they did and said what they said.”

After combat, the students dressed up in Renaissance era costumes that were supplied by the drama department.

Not only did Wilkins consider it a memorable experience and extremely helpful, she plans to continue these types of celebrations and hopes that next year all of the freshman English classes can be involved.

“I think it will be one of their most memorable experiences at Carmel,” Wilkins said. “They’ll always have that connection to Romeo and Juliet.