My training from college on was always looking at literature through the eyes of a performer.
I started realizing you didn’t understand poetry until you felt it in your mouth.
When you have students act out a scene, they have to empathize with a character and understand why they’re saying what they’re saying.
I try to make the kids make a choice and defend that choice. I think that’s the most important thing I do in any class at any time.
To say, “I can have my own interpretation as long as I can back it up,” that’s everything. It makes them realize they’re empowered, and they’re not just vessels that some teacher is pouring information into.
It’s really important to me to take what’s on the page and talk about it like we’re watching people live this out. Let’s look at it, analyze it and talk it to death as if we’re pundits on TV.
Anything you learn in literature, you can apply to real life.
What shocks kids about Shakespeare is how relevant it is and how infinite it is.
We could have an upper school where we only taught Shakespeare. He’s that important.
He was a genius of the language.
He made his characters so three-dimensional that you really are looking at life.
tHe villains have good traits and the heroes have flaws.
Othello, because they all know about love and jealousy. They talk about double standards for women, and Iago is such a kick-butt villain.
I actually worked with actors from the Globe Theatre and working actors in London.
We worked on the scenes with actual professional directors and performed on the Globe stage, which was life-changing.
There’s no ceiling at the Globe, so you see the sky. When we performed our scene at 1 a.m., a storm was brewing. I had this big monologue at the end. Right when I threw my arms up, the wind swept in and took the curtain behind me and it started billowing. It looked like I was literally conjuring up the gods.
The stage manager came running up to me and said, “This happens all the time in this theater. It’s magic.”
2:00 PM EST
September 7, 2016