On Saturday, May 2, DePauw University and six Putnam county schools will put on three separate plays. “King Lear” will begin at 2:00 p.m., “Hamlet” at 4:00 p.m. and “Twelfth Night” at 7:00 p.m. For students, tickets are $3, and for general audiences, $6.
Amy Hayes, part-time assistant professor of communication and theatre, spearheaded the directing series while working closely with several student directors.
Senior Carter Gorman co-directed “King Lear” with sophomore Laurel O’Rourke and first-year Jerica Bean at Cloveradle. Gorman explained students anywhere from seventh to 12th grade can participate in the plays.
Said Gorman: “The aim of the festival is to allow them to express themselves through the language of Shakespeare.”
He finds this acting experience to be quite relevant to students in the middle school to high school range.
“It is a fantastic way for young teens to escape from the bounds of adolescence,” Gorman said.
Sophomore director Oley Yager described his directing of “Twelfth Night” as “a total up-and-down-process.” He is co-directing this play with junior Laura Loy and sophomore Midori Kawaue.
“The directing experience in this setting is different than any other acting experience I’ve had,” Gorman said.
His directing is focused on expressing oneself through the rich and complex language of Shakespeare. They avoid using various acting methods, and they take a patient approach in educating the students on what background and word meanings are necessary.
“That was the trickiest stuff, teaching them why certain things happen in the script and why certain characters act they way they do,” Yager said.
Yager went on to say that he and his fellow directors had cut the script to make it more manageable.
“Once they got that background knowledge of Shakespeare, they were just picking up everything we threw at them,” Yager said.
Gorman has high hopes of the students and their performance.
“I hope they do actually act out and embellish as opposed to going back into themselves and being reticent,” said Gorman. “I hope they seize the moment and really give it their all.”