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ISSUE 118 VOL 12 PUBLISHED 3/4/2005

Scholars salute Shakespeare’s work

By Emelie Heltsley
News Editor

Friday, March 4, 2005

Shakespeare, sonnets and scholasticism abounded at St. Olaf last weekend, thanks to the 4th annual Shakespeare Colloquium. Students from five different colleges gathered at St. Olaf to share academic papers, attend workshops, watch a play put on by the Smaller Shakespeare Company and talk with each other about the Bard himself. This year's Colloquium boasted undergraduate participants from St. Olaf, Carleton, the University of Minnesota, Augsburg and Gustavus. Students from St. Olaf, Carleton, the U of M, and Gustavus presented academic papers at two morning sessions on Saturday. Brigit McGuire '05 presented her paper, entitled "Bad Dreams: The captured Image in Almereyda's Hamlet," at the second morning session. Her paper discussed Michael Almereyda's 2000 film version of Hamlet. "Through film, Almereyda is able to put us into Hamlet's mind, his memories and nightmares," McGuire said. "Seeing them, we can understand how he has formed his world view." Assistant Professor of English Karen Marsalek was pleased with the level of involvement in the Colloquium. "It is so exciting to see more colleges get involved," she said. Marselek got the idea for a local Shakespeare Colloquium five years ago, after a St. Olaf student's paper was accepted for a conference in Pennsylvania. "The aim of the colloquium is to showcase student work," Marselek said, mentioning her desire to bring Shakespeare out of the classroom. "I enjoy seeing students talk to each other about their work." Assistant Professor of English Mary Trull has worked on the Shakespeare Colloquium for the past two years and she noted that the Colloquium “mixes different aspects [of Shakespearean study], such as teaching, scholarship and acting.” Martha Harris, a retired elementary school teacher and St. Olaf Education professor, held a teaching workshop for students and teachers attending the conference. As a former student, Harris remembered long questions on the board, no discussion, and a teacher who did not listen. In her workshop, students and teachers saw that by using performance as a basis for learning, students learn much more from the material. Colloquium attendees then had the opportunity to attend a lunch with Joel Sass, the director of "Pericles," currently playing at the Guthrie Theatre. Sass' unique direction of "Pericles" has received much acclaim during its run. Sass sees "Pericles" as a "fairy-tale for adults," calling it "fanciful," "episodic" and "cyclical." On Sunday afternoon, Colloquium attendees had the chance to go to the Guthrie and watch the show. After the lunch, attendees could watch a Master Class with Minneapolis actor/director Doug Scholz-Carlson. Scholz-Carlson worked with St. Olaf students on Shakespearean monologues, and, according to Marselek, "It was fascinating to see the changes." The day ended with a performance of "As You Like It," by the Smaller Shakespeare Company, directed by Lauren McClain '05, Kevin Scheible '05 and Melinda Fechner '05. The actors ranged from fourth to eighth grade, and used the original Shakespearean text in their play, cutting the script for length only. After the stage lights dimmed, attendees returned home with a fuller appreciation of Shakespeare’s work.

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