Inspired by the September 2017 production of Romeo and Juliet at the GPAC, the students in Sara Oswald’s ENG 2470—British Literature before 1790 class staged their own readings of selected scenes from the play. The groups worked collaboratively to cast the roles, review the script for their scene, make cuts to fit the allotted time, and rehearse their lines, blocking, and stage directions. The project culminated in staged readings performed in the Dial A-V Theater on October 26.
When asked to comment on the project, many students used the word “fun” to sum up their experience. “I was able to enjoy the play,” said one student, “because I was a part of it.” “I do think I will appreciate this play more now that I see how difficult it can be to perform,” said another. Some talked about how this project increased their understanding of the text, with one saying, “Reading a conversation is different than participating in one. . . . When you perform it out loud each character gets to keep their own voice and their characteristics become more apparent.”
For many others, the experience of working in a group stood out. “My group gave me a lot of confidence, and we had a friendly dynamic that contributed to how well our performance turned out,” commented one student. Another added that “working in a group was a great community experience. Having others read . . . rather than deciphering the play on my own allowed me to better understand the dynamics . . . in one of our scenes.” A third student noted that “being in a group holds you more accountable because what you do affects the entire group and not just yourself.” And another said, “I worked with an awesome group of people. . . . If I ever do this again, I just want that same group of people.”