Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


May 8, 2014

A 'Dream' realized; AHS Drama takes cue from Shakespeare and Company

AHS Drama takes cue from Shakespeare and Company

The Andover High School Drama Guild in partnership with Shakespeare & Company of Lenox is bringing William Shakespeare’s classic comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” to the stage of the J. Everett Collins Center for the Performing Arts this weekend.

The production is the culmination of a six-week artistic residency by two professionals from Shakespeare & Company.

Tom Jaeger and Jessie Chapman have spent this spring working alongside students in various English language arts classes, including dramatic literature and humanities, as well as outside of the classroom as part of the integrated project.

“Every single teacher has said the experience has been impressive, wonderful, choose your own superlative,” Patricia Whalen, program adviser for the English Language Arts Department, said in a release. “They have said it will alter the way they approach and plan teaching the plays they teach, and the students loved their participation.”

At the end of each school day, 30 members of the AHS Drama Guild rehearsed “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with Jaeger and Chapman to ready it for the stage.

Chapman said the students will present a 70-minute cutting of the full-length play. “In the time allotted for the residency, this shortened version enables students to make meaning of the text and allows the play to be accessible for all ages,” the company’s manager said.

Susan Choquette, director of theater arts at Andover High, said the partnership has been “a dream finally realized.”

“I have wanted for many years to bring Shakespeare & Company here to the high school,” she said. “In six weeks, Tom and Jessie have interacted with so many of our high school students. They have brought the world and work of William Shakespeare to life in a practical and meaningful way. It has been just fabulous to watch them work.”

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