‘Shakespeare at Princeton’
LILEANA BLAIN-CRUZ: Happy
birthday to you, Shakespeare!
BARBARA ROMER: Happy
birthday, Will. DAVID CRUIKSHANK: Happy
birthday, Shakespeare. MICHAEL CADDEN: Dear Will
Shakespeare, happy birthday. RUSSELL LEO: Happy
birthday, Shakespeare. EMMA WORTH: Happy
Happy birthday, Will. JOHN PATRICK DOHERTY: Happy
birthday, Shakespeare. I hope you’ve enjoyed
the last 450 years.
RUSSELL LEO: At Princeton,
we who teach Shakespeare see it as an opportunity
to have interdisciplinary conversations.
It’s really a rare opportunity
to get a room full of students from all different majors and
concentrations, who all agree– at least at the beginning–
that this material is important. LILEANA BLAIN-CRUZ:
How do we continue to capture the immensity
of the human spirit? And it’s in Shakespeare’s plays.
BARBARA ROMER: So
my sophomore year, I was working on a production of
Henry IV, Part One and Part Two combined, in the chapel.
I think maybe as a foreigner
at first at Princeton, where I was struggling
with the foreign language, that production
sophomore year really allowed me to find that voice.
MICHAEL CADDEN: We’re looking
at the ways in which Shakespeare continues to shape the
contemporary British theater. One of the great
things about Princeton is that there are the
resources at the university to do things like what I’ve
just done during Spring Break– which is to take 14
Princeton students to London and Stratford to
kind of experience the legacy of Shakespeare.
DAVID CRUIKSHANK: It’s
really important for people to have opportunities to view,
and to perform Shakespeare, because you kind of get an
experience and an understanding of the text that you wouldn’t
be able to get when you’re just kind of learning it
in the classroom. EMMA WORTH: Shakespeare
is very dense material, so it’s really important that
that first introduction is both an encouraging, and clear,
and helpful hand in guiding you through the texts.
JOHN PATRICK DOHERTY: I played
Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet when I was a senior
at Princeton. We did it in the
Berlind Theatre, part of the McCarter Theatre.
And it was the first time
that I had done Shakespeare in a theater of that size, with
that kind of production value. EMILY MANN: It’s a wonderful
amalgamation of the two, to be able to study it,
and then see it come alive and hopefully, blow your
mind with its intensity on the stage.
SANDRA BERMANN: Yes, and I do
think that reading Shakespeare is an experience of
broadening oneself, and one’s understanding.
EMILY MANN: No question.
SANDRA BERMANN: And
that happens every time we pick up a page of
Shakespeare’s work. And it leads me in the
classroom to always make sure our students
read it aloud. “Love’s not time’s fool.
The rosy lips and cheeks within
his bending sickle’s compass come.
Love alters not with his
brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even
to the edge of doom. If this be error
and upon me proved, I never writ, nor
no man ever loved.” LILEANA BLAIN-CRUZ:
Working on Shakespeare reminds you the beauty
and the power of language, the ability to transform and to
act through words, the ability to– a million ways
that you can express love, and at the same time
express doubt about that love, the way that people are
able to frame identities out of language.
I just think it’s an immense
project that will never cease to provide new discoveries
about who we are as people.