Speaking with the Society: an Interview with Shakespeare Society’s Presidents

Co-President,11, Katie Werely-Bross talks with members Sarah Kurtz, 11, and Grace Czerwonky, 11, about the new play they were studying. The Club had just started Macbeth and were getting ready to start reading. “We teach as if people don’t know about Shakespeare. We cover basic things and ask basic questions: ‘Hey do you know this? Do you want to learn about this?’; it’s just a lot of check-ins with the members about what they like and what they want to do,” said Co-President Kendall Tran, 11.

Katie Werely-Bross — Co-President of Shakespeare Society

Kendall Tran— Co- President of Shakespeare Society

 

What’s the goal of Shakespeare Society?

Kendall Tran: The goal of Shakespeare Society has always been to integrate people with Shakespeare, but this year we’re definitely leaning towards teaching about a lot of his works, about his life, about the Globe Theater- just more organized teaching. 

Katie Werely-Bross: Covering more topics than we have in past years and also going more in-depth with the acting than we have in past years.

 

How do you guys make sure everyone is on the same basis with Shakespeare? There must be some people well-versed in his works and others who are less acquainted with his works and have just joined the club for fun. 

Kendall Tran: We teach as if people don’t know about Shakespeare. We cover basic things and ask basic questions: “Hey do you know this? Do you want to learn about this?”; it’s just a lot of check-ins with the members about what they like and what they want to do.

Katie Werely-Bross: And occasionally we’ll have more conversations and discussions for people who know more. Then the people who don’t know as much will ask questions covering content more in-depth than what we go over in the club meetings. 

 

What are your tips for someone who’s just beginning to read Shakespeare?

Kendall Tran: I would start out just looking at videos of people doing Shakespeare because Shakespeare is really hard to read. But that makes sense because it’s not meant to be read- it’s meant to be seen and to be heard. What really drew me into Shakespeare was having the club, and having people to talk about it with, having the discussions, and seeing what we understand. Reading it out loud really helps, because you can get lost when just reading and doing it on your own.

Katie Werely-Bross: Yeah, and I would say it’s definitely not cheating to go online and look up what’s going on in scenes, in plots, and what words mean. Even online presentations clarifying plots help understand it a lot better. Just reading the language sounds nice, but looking it up to help you understand the play is not bad, it’s just what you need to do sometimes.

Kendall Tran: And that helps because he’s definitely long winded. Sometimes he takes three pages to write what could’ve just been two sentences.

 

You brought up how Shakespeare is meant to be acted out. How do you feel Shakespeare Society brings him to life?

Kendall Tran: Well in the past, we’ve done a one-act play in the second semester. And like we’ve said, simply acting out different scenes helps people experience it fully. This is also something we try to do in meetings. Starting next week we will be doing Macbeth and reading a short version out loud and just acting out different scenes to help people not only see it but feel and be inside of it. 

Katie Werely-Bross: The Spring Play definitely helps us out a lot, but in past years reading the plays as a club has let us really hear and understand the meaning of the play. Even if some people don’t feel like reading their parts with a full, dramatic voice filled with emotion, any participation helps.

 

What’s your favorite Shakespeare piece and why?

Kendall Tran: I really like Much Ado About Nothing. It’s just amazing. It’s hilarious, dramatic, and really good.

Katie Werely-Bross: I would have to say Midsummer Night’s Dream. It holds a special place in my heart. I’ve gotten to see it many times, and I’ve even gotten to be in it. I’m also a huge fan of Taming of the Shrew, which is a very controversial play nowadays because it is incredibly derogative towards women. It’s a hard play to read and understand without being offended because its purpose is to offend. But if you look into it, there are ways to interpret the play in such a manner that the main female actor is actually manipulating the whole thing and doesn’t actually think what she’s saying. It’s writing is amazing.

 

Have you heard about the conspiracy theory that Shakespeare was not the author of his own plays?

KatieWerely-Bross: Yes, and I’m not actually certain. I know for a fact that Shakespeare didn’t write all of his plays on his own. There are some plays that he has coauthored with others and has their names on them. There’s also been some proof that Shakespeare has had others’ input on his plays. I don’t know exactly how much input they had, or if he full-on stole other people’s plays, but it’s really hard to tell nowadays because there’s no one to ask. So yeah, I have heard of that theory, but I’m not sure if it’s real. 

Kendall Tran: I’ve heard of it. I’m a little on the fence about it, because Shakespeare is who we’ve acknowledged for these plays for a long time, and we don’t have proof about if it’s real or not. It’s possible, but in the way that the aliens built the pyramids- theoretically a possibility, but probably not what happened.  

 

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