We worked with three groups on A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Queen Katherine School, Kendal. The first nurture group displayed real energy and enthusiasm working on scenes between Helena and Demetrius, especially when the session concluded with Alison (as Demetrius) chasing a pupil (as Helena) around the hall!
Students in the afternoon workshops showed close knowledge of the play and a growing sensitivity to the emotional interactions between the lovers Helena, Hermia, Demetrius and Lysander in Act 3 Scene 2. Their imaginative and intuitive interpretations of the combination of comedy and pain in the lovers’ interactions came through strongly as they performed extracts back to the whole group and commented on each others’ performances. Responding to whether performance helped their understanding of the play, the students commented:
‘it makes it all feel more alive’, ‘it helps you to understand the language’, ‘you can see the different ways you can perform a scene’, ‘I enjoyed watching other people’s interpretations’, ‘it helped me to speak the language’, ‘performing helped show the character’s emotions’, ‘feeling how actors feel’ and it ‘makes it feel more real and relative’.
It is fantastic to see how well the students engaged with the play through performance at the levels of language, emotion and genre.