On Friday, the 18th of October 2019, our advanced course and Mrs. Hix went to Frankfurt to take part in a Shakespeare workshop. Actually it was supposed to take place at the English Theatre, but suddenly we had to change our location to a conference room at the Hilton Hotel. Our acting coach on this day was PJ Escobio. PJ works as an actor, artistic director and is a real Shakespeare expert. He taught us a lot about acting as well as Shakespeare’s play “Othello“.
We started the workshop with a ball game, throwing the ball to each other and shouting our names while the ball was flying. After the warming up, we had to find one word that describes the main theme of the tragedy “Othello“, such as love, racism, and jealousy.
Later we had to lie down in a circle and imagine being in Venice at Shakespeare’s time. Meanwhile, PJ told us the whole story of “Othello“. After this, he gave everybody an extract from the script of the play to learn how to speak and act using the right rhythm. We had to make a step forward and backward for every syllable that was in our sentence to underline the iambic pentameter.
The next part of our workshop was to work with a dialogue between Othello and Iago. First, we tried to translate it into modern English (with PJ’s help). Then we had to find a partner who we practiced with before we presented it in front of our class. Every group got a different task on how they were supposed to present the text.
After a short break, we started to work with another text from this play. It was a conversation between Desdemona and Emilia. Our task was to underline all the verbs, nouns and capitalized words and try to understand the sense of the dialogue without reading every word of the extract. We realized that this was a great technique and it helped us to be more confident when it comes to Shakespeare’s English.
When we were done, we could choose between the different options we had practiced and present one in front of everyone.
At the end of the workshop, we all sat together in a circle and discussed Othello’s tragic flaw, which is, according to PJ, his fragile masculinity. We also tried to find another word that can perfectly describe the theme of this play. We came to the conclusion that this one, most important word probably is “miscommunication“.
This was our day at the Shakespeare workshop. We hope you enjoyed reading this report as much as we enjoyed our time there.
What: Shakespeare Workshop
When: 18th of October 2019
Where: Hilton Hotel in Frankfurt
Written by: Magda G., Englisch LK13 Y Hix