Re-imagining Shakespeare - Merchant of Venice (program 1)
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SubjectShakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Merchant of Venice; Art in literature; Symbolism in literature
William Shakespeare was no stranger to collaboration. More than a few of his plays were co-authored with fellow dramatists or adapted by others in the process of publication, while performances of his works have always depended on the efforts of actors, investors, and even audiences. Indeed, in his time, Shakespeare was part of a commercial company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, and later, the King's Men. Bringing his works to both light and life has therefore always required the imaginative labor of many.
This exhibition represents the cross-discipline collaboration of more than sixty of Drake's students. After studying several of the Bard's plays, students in Sarah Hogan's Reading Shakespeare courses (ENG 058) worked in small groups to direct and perform scenes from "The Merchant of Venice", "Hamlet", and "Twelfth Night". They then collectively drafted a series of short essays on their imagined full-length productions. These modern adaptations, explained in the collaboratively-authored programs, ranged from a "Hamlet" set in the impoverished town of Denmark, South Carolina, to a "Twelfth Night" that explores the gender politics of corporate America. Students in the Graphic Design Two courses (ART 116) taught by Hilary Williams then worked in pairs to create theater posters and program covers that drew on these materials for inspiration and interpretation. All along the way, students have shared ideas, debated visions, and re-imagined Shakespeare.