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Davis, California

Monday, February 26, 2024

In Step with Shakespeare

An imprisoned princess, a plotting stepbrother, forbidden love and a bet. That Shakespeare sure did know how to write a story.

This Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., the Integrated Studies 8B: Playing Shakespeare class will perform Shakespeare’s Cymbeline in Wyatt Theatre. The event is sponsored by the University Writing Program and the performance is free.

The Playing Shakespeare class is offered every spring quarter and is taught by Dr. Eric Schroeder. Schroeder is known for wanting to study and perform each of Shakespeare’s plays in the class first, before repeating any. As Cymbeline is not one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, this production will be full of surprises.

Sophomore biochemistry and molecular biology major Michael Yeack is in charge of publicity and will play a bodyguard to King Cymbeline. He elaborated on the perks of not repeating performances.

“This forces the class to venture out into lesser known works, which should be a true delight for the audience,Yeack said.Everyone knows how Romeo and Juliet ends, but Cymbeline should be full of surprises for the vast majority of the audience.

The class is designed for students to learn more about Shakespeare and also to virtually spearhead its own production, said first-year biology major Greg Walker, who plays the character Belarius.

“[Schroeder] tries to get us out of ourcomfort zonesand has us do everything a real theater company would do for the showfrom finding costumes and props to publicizing the play,Walker said.In the end, the finished product is truly the work of the students.

As there are no theater majors in the class, this production reflects the performer’s true commitment to and genuine interest in Shakespeare. Dr. Schroeder finds that the class creates life-long fans of Shakespeare.

“Most students have some doubts when they sign up for the class,Schroeder said.But these students come back to the annual Integrated Studies production every year they are at Davis.

Sophomore clinical nutrition major Sarah Martin expressed that she grew a lot since taking the class this quarter.

“This is a great class,Martin said.I have been able to learn so much about both the literature and how to represent a Shakespearean work on stage while of course having a ton of fun at the same time.

As the performers did not all start out as avid Shakespeare fans, the production takes a light-hearted tone.

“While we have the constant support of our peers in Integrated Studies, we hope that everyone even vaguely interested in Shakespeare will show up,Yeack said.While we have done our very best to stay true to the play itself, we have in no way produced a humorless, boring show. Anyone interested in a night of good theater is welcome to show up.


JULIA MCCANDLESS can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.



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