Shakespeare Day festivities and events play out once again

Sameer Nanda, Contributing Writer

On April 19, students and teachers gathered together to celebrate Schreiber’s annual Shakespeare Day, where the works of the Elizabethan writer were showcased in a variety of mediums.

“Especially in high school, Shakespeare’s work often goes unappreciated by most people, but when you get the chance to sit down and watch your classmates perform his works in different ways, you grow an appreciation for his plays,” said junior Sydney Ronis.

Throughout the day, students and teachers presented songs, skits, and videos.

Chemistry teachers Ms. Christine Nelson and Ms. Joy Grasso-Krebs led the way with their rendition of “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” from the musical Kiss Me Kate.

Ms. Grasso-Krebs and I very much enjoy singing and musical theater, so we both enjoy the performance aspect of it.” said Ms. Nelson.

Sophomores Samuel Reisman and Matthew Nicholson also lit up the stage with their parody of the theme song of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  The spoof was written by student coordinators senior Delia Van Praag and junior Nate Krantz. One period was devoted to English teacher Ms. Shari Schulman’s Theatre Arts class, which performed scenes from various Shakespearean plays in a competition.  The winning team, including senior Andrew Cullen, junior Luke Grieco and sophomores Rachel Ellerson and Jina Lay, presented an excerpt of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  The audience was rallied up when Hermia (Ellerson) and Helena (Lay) got into a violent fight over the love of the two men, Demetrius and Lysander.

“My favorite part of the experience was the stage fight,” said Lay.  “Although it was embarrassing when we’d practice the scene in class, in the end, it was really interesting to look at Shakespeare’s work in a fun and creative way.”

Additionally, students showcased their filming talents through original Shakespeare-related videos.

Among the favorites were “The Play-Team,” written by Van Praag and Krantz.  The short-film was a spin-off of the popular TV show The A-Team and included four Shakespearean male leads who, together, formed a force to fight crime.

Another crowd pleaser was “Shakespearean Tweets,” also written by Van Praag, where students read tweets as Shakespearean characters.

The work of sophomore Gabe Lyons also made an appearance. His video, “Macbeth: Two Interpretations of Act 1, Scene 1-Trailer,” offered two contrasting views on the first witch scene in Shakespeare’s tragedy.

“I chose the first scene for a couple of reasons,” said Lyons, “Since it is the first scene, and only the first scene, it leaves room for the audience to figure out what happens next, to come to their own conclusions.”

However, not all of the events happened on stage.  As a part of Shakespeare Day, students were also allowed to contribute to the sonnet, portrait, or cupcake contests.

Every year, English teacher Ms. Donna Valenti, who teaches the Shakespeare course, interviews several students in order to select Shakespeare Day coordinators.  Upon acceptance, junior and senior Shakespeare Day advisors help Ms. Valenti organize the event.

“Although it was a stressful experience as a coordinator, It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my high school career,” said senior Kimberly Suzzan.

“There are so many opportunities in Shakespeare Day,” said coordinator and junior Sabrina Brennan.  “No matter what your skill set, if it can relate back to Shakespeare. Go for it!”

For the past 21 years, Shakespeare Day has offered Schreiber students and teachers the opportunity to transfer their classwork into varied art forms.

“Shakespeare’s plays are timeless,” said Suzzan. “And here at Schreiber, we have created an event as special as his great works.  Shakespeare Day is always evolving with the times, but its purpose will always be to celebrate a great playwright.”