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Shakespeare in Chicago

Grace Dawson, Crown Editor

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The AP Literature class took a field trip to Chicago’s Shakespeare Theatre, to see Love’s Labor’s Lost. This particular play is one of Shakespeare’s lesser known, early works. The comedy follows the escapades of four men whom have just made  a three year pact. The pact promises that each will devote themselves to study for three years, forgoing food, sleep, and women. As it so happens, just as they sign their oath, four women arrive in the court. Escapades continue as the men fall in love and attempt to get out of their oath and woo the women.

Prior  to the trip, the class had been reading the play together and analyzing the scenes, so they were familiar with the characters and story.  Their day started with a two hour bus ride, which was filled to the brim with renditions of songs spanning the last few decades. Once in the city, they headed to Navy Pier, where the Shakespeare Theatre is located. The play started at 1:00 and the class had a prime view from the Gallery seats.

Stage dressing was simple,  it was decorated to look like the play was taking place in the woods, with a swing that was raised and lowered depending on the scene. At the Shakespeare theater, the stage is what is known as a “thrust” stage, meaning it is surrounded on three sides by the audience. This setup makes the play more personal, and engages the audience more. Using this to their advantage, the actors in the play captured the characters well, and there were plenty of laughs. Mikayla Knuth said of the experience “The play felt so personal, I loved being able to see it acted out right in front of me, it brought Shakespeare to life.”

It was a valuable experience for the students, all of whom are Seniors and are on their way to college. Having this trip allowed them to let loose before getting ready to go to college, and gave them a valuable, personal connection to a piece of literature. No matter what each person got out of the trip, they are sure to remember it as they all go their separate ways.

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Shakespeare in Chicago