For some students, the long days of Shakespeare readings in high school classrooms are over –– thanks to the Ohio State Department of Theatre.
Co-directors and graduate students in theater Eric Brinkman and Aubrey Helene will present a cut version of Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors” at the Lincoln Theatre this weekend. The event is part of Stand Up for Shakespeare, a program created to promote Shakespeare to teenagers.
“Shakespeare’s School Tour is really for the children,” Brinkman said. “It’s all about giving students [the opportunity] to learn Shakespeare in an interesting way.”
Originally partnered with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the idea of the program was about bringing a hands-on Shakespeare experience.
“Just reading Shakespeare can frankly be a bit boring,” Brinkman said. “Especially if you’re a kid in school, it can quickly become just another assignment to complete, another reading you have to do for class. We don’t want that to be the experience people have with Shakespeare.”
The program works by inviting actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company to the classroom, where they act out scenes from the play with the students.
“I actually experienced these classroom experiences with Shakespeare,” Helene said. “It is a large reason why I fell in love with Shakespeare. It gives you a unique perspective on the plays, and it often makes students much more enthusiastic to learn about Shakespeare.”
Brinkman and Helene’s adaptation of “Comedy of Errors” is a way to give students an opportunity to see a play from Shakespeare in theater.
“The way it works is we have our show and do our performances,” Brinkman said. “Teachers then bring their students to watch our performances, and then that gives them a lot of material to use in their teachings back in the classroom. It is all about making Shakespeare fun to learn. By having them watch a play and laugh, interest and passion can develop from that.”
Written in 1594, “Comedy of Errors” is a play that revolves around miscommunication, separated siblings, mistaken identities and much more.
“A play like ‘Comedy of Errors’ will make children laugh,” Brinkman said. “And when they laugh, then they will be interested and will want to learn. And after the success we had with ‘Macbeth’ last year, I think this show is going to be a hit.”
“Comedy of Errors” will have five performances at the Lincoln Theater, 769 E. Long St.,this weekend. Tickets are $10 plus fees for students and can be found online via Ticketmaster.