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Shakespeare on Love Seminar Students Captivated by Twelfth Night Performance

By Mark Randolph, English Teacher and Shakespeare on Love Senior Seminar trip organizer

Since 2005, with only a couple of interruptions, the Shakespeare on Love Senior Seminar has been traveling to Chicago to study performances mounted by the justly renown Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Previous trips have seen Much Ado About Nothing, Two Noble Kinsmen, Romeo and Juliet, Pericles, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Taming of the Shrew, and As You Like It. This year, the Class of 2024 made the seminar’s 16th visit to the Chicago Shakes to see a performance of Twelfth Night

Directed by Tyrone Philips, the 2023 performance of Twelfth Night was set in Jamaica and featured a wonderful medley of music and dancing to complement Shakespeare’s story of shipwrecked twins who survive the hijinks of misfortune and misprision. Fortunately, on this occasion, disguises, desire, and diligence are all rewarded as love triumphs in the end. 

According to senior Dash Mangrulkar, “It’s definitely my favorite class trip I’ve ever been on. The performance of Twelfth Night we saw was so unique and captivating.”

Classmate Jackson Juckniess ’24 echoed a similar sentiment, adding, “It was incredibly fun, whether it be the hilarious production of Twelfth Night, staying up late discussing the day’s events, or getting classic Chicago-style pizza and gelato, every moment was exciting and brought the group together.” 

This final lesson was the capstone of a seminar which focused on the finer points of Shakespeare studies, namely the relationship between Shakespeare’s theatrical spaces and the plays, the pesky authorship controversy, vexed questions of textual transmission, and creative analysis of production choices. Over the course of the semester, the students worked on speaking the speech following the guidance of Peter Hall in his book, Shakespeare’s Advice to the Players, and John Barton from his famous master class videos. And they analyzed and performed sonnets. Perhaps most importantly, they learned that one always only falls in love at first sight, because love, like the theater itself, is magic.

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