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From Emma – Words, words, words

July 3, 2013

????????Last month, we wrapped up our tour of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, for what may be its last performance. After four years living with this production, our last performance, up at Pocono Mountain West High School, was lovely and bittersweet, for a great audience of enthusiastic English and Drama students. At the end of the school day, as we packed up the van for the last time, the students who had participated for the day did what students who participated for the day always did at this point – filled out surveys about their experience. What had they learned? What had they enjoyed?

Our performance is part of the wonderful Shakespeare for a New Generation, a national program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. When we receive generous funding, we’re required to “track” the impact we make, often through asking the students involved to comment on the experience.

Sometimes, the answers are touching, inspiring, adorable. Other times, they just make us crack up. But see for yourself…

How was the play different from what you expected?
“Really romantic”
“I wasn’t expecting a little bit of humor. I really liked it, though.”
“I expected there to be more people involved.”
“The play was very in depth and easy to understand.”
“The voices portraying the character rather than the costumes.”
“Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect, but they blew me away.”

What new thing did you learn about Shakespeare?
“That his plays weren’t all serious/boring”
“He is SEXY”
????????“The rhythm.”
“He writes very deep and he has very tough emotions.”
“He used words in a unique way.”
“He knew about laughter.”
“That Shakespeare changes peoples’ lives.”
“He is 450 years old.”
“He wrote for all kinds of people.”
“Nothing new. Our English teacher knows everything!”

What did you enjoy about the educational activity?
“Everything”
“We were able to stand and try out different things instead of just sitting”
“The actors were very friendly”
“The way the actors related Shakespeare to their lives.”
“I love how you can change so easily between characters and I understand the change.”
“It offered something I can bring into practice for myself.”

How did the play, educational activity, or meeting the actors change your ideas about Shakespeare or theatre in general?
“I don’t think Shakespeare is boring anymore.”
“That maybe it’s not as boring a I thought it would be.”
“It helped me to think of ideas for my own role in my school’s musical.”
“He sounds epic.”
“I felt that a minimalist style can be the most moving.”
“I’m already in love with Shakespeare and his beautiful ways. This experience just re-ensured my love and understanding.”
“I thought the actors would be old because Shakespeare is old.”

Please share any additional comments.
“Our school play is December 6, 7, 8 at 7:30 at JBHS. I know you’re busy, but you should come see it!”
“It was enjoyable to watch and I would want to watch it again.”
“Kyle was hysterical.”
“I really hope they come back soon.”
“WE ❤ TOUCHSTONE A LOT. BRING THEM BACK <3”
“I am so impressed with the passion, commitment, and broad knowledge of all the performers.”
“The female actress was my most favorite of them all.”
“My name is Brigid (tell Bill)”
“Y’all are cool! My favorite is the eldest guy.”SONY DSC
“Touchstone is an excellent company and should get more funding!”
“After seeing the play, I went home and started reading it.”
“You guys really are the BOMB!”

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