Performances Confront Nuanced Language


Arjun Chhabra, Staff Writer

Chuck Woolridge’s English 1 classes performed scenes from the Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet on January 8.  The performances, which took place in the multi-use room, were a culminating activity for the study of the play.

For about a month, the freshmen worked in assigned groups to prepare for their performances. Students were graded on their line memorization, effective characterization through oral expression, movement, costumes, and set and prop elements.  

Woolridge believed performing these scenes is important in building vital oratory skills. “Speaking and oral articulation are part of the common core standards, but I also think it is a great opportunity for them to confront the challenging language of Shakespeare and take time to process it,” he said.

Freshman Kalea Ting agreed that the skits offered a “better understanding of the scene since its written in a type of English we don’t really learn.”

Having to act out the play and deliver lines of dialogue in performance “really forces students to kind of grapple with the meaning and the nuances,” said Woolridge.

Freshman Emilia Silverman felt that the exercise was “more enrichment-based” than typical English projects, and felt that students were better able to “know and understand the sense of personality the characters had.”