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To Slam or Not To Slam

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On November 4, six students from Benet participated in a Shakespeare Slam poetry competition at Carl Sandburg High School. At this event, the six Benet students, along with students from ten other high schools, performed scenes from Shakespeare that they had prepared. The teams were then scored on their performance.
However, this experience really began on September 30, when all of these students gathered together for a workshop that would teach them all about what participating in this Shakespeare Slam meant. They learned how to read and perform Shakespeare, how to have realistic reactions on stage, and how to create an impactful scene.
After this workshop, the students from each school chose two different Shakespearean scenes that they would be performing. The first scene could be from any Shakespeare play and had to be performed without props. The Benet students chose a scene from King Lear. The second scene they chose had to be made up from the text of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. However, they could take lines from anywhere in the play and combine them. However, they needed to in order to portray whatever theme or message the students wanted to. Here the Benet students chose the last two soliloquies from Oberin and Puck.
Once the students had picked and edited their scenes, they began blocking and rehearsing them. Since they were not allowed to use any props, the students not only had to recite lines and act out characters for each scene, but they had to portray any objects the scene might normally have, like a tree.
After a month of rehearsing their scenes, the Shakespeare Slam that they had all been working for finally came around. Although the Benet students did score very well, they did not score high enough to win the competition. The school that did win, however, was able to go on to the final performance at Shakespeare Theatre at Navy Pier.
Participating in a Shakespeare Slam is definitely not a very common activity for a high schooler, but Trina Egner (‘19) was very happy that she ended up participating. “Doing Shakespeare Slam helped me understand that everyone in Shakespeare’s plays are real people, not just stuffy old figures from five hundred years ago. They have passion, desires, and emotions. They are just like us! That helped me to understand not only Shakespeare, but all literature a little bit better.”

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To Slam or Not To Slam