Lee University’s Advanced Directing students recently invited their audience travel across campus as they performed a series of six different scenes from various Shakespeare works in different campus locations.
Associate Professor of Theatre Dan Buck said his students were tasked with finding a five to seven minute scene from any Shakespearean play and perform it on campus in a location that is not traditionally used as a performance space.
Junior theatre major Madelaine Burgess directed a scene from “Two Gentlemen of Verona” and said she enjoyed the challenges that came from setting the scene outdoors.
“We didn’t know if it was going to be cold or if it was going to rain,” Burgess said. “We were ready to jump in, it’s not something that we get to experience in a regular theatre space.”
Buck said that his Advanced Directing class inspires students to think creatively and critically in order to produce good theatre and develop their directing skills.
“The Advanced Directing class is a lot more hands-off—in other words—I give them some projects and let them go,” Buck said. “For my students, I find that it opens their theatrical imagination.”
Junior public relations major Jake Cash acted as Romeo in the famous balcony scene from “Romeo and Juliet,” under the direction of directing student Gabby McDonald.
Cash said that performing the scene in Squires Library was a challenging location and required the cast to work around the initial silence.
“We had to get over the fear of annoying people and break the silence,” Cash said.
Junior graphic design and theology double major Kennedy Brown acted in a scene from “Taming of the Shrew,” under the direction of directing student Hope Morris.
Brown said that the performance allowed its audience to appreciate the versatility of Shakespeare’s works.
“I think it’s important to appreciate the rich history of the arts,” Brown said. “Seeing Shakespeare put into a modern context allows you to see the value in the verses that he wrote and the relevance of them today.”
The Advanced Directing students will direct one more performance at the upcoming Fringe Festival.
Burgess said the festival will allow students and faculty to see new theatre written and directed by local artists.
“They should come because it’s theatre that they haven’t seen before, and it’s theatre written by their peers,” Burgess said. “I think anytime that you can get involved with local artists, that is the theatre that you should come to.”