The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

‘Shakespeare on the Quad’ performance promotes accessibility, visability of arts

Photo by Liv Bamford for The Lafayette
Hannah Daskal ’27, Truman Morsman ’27 and Joanna Howson ’26 guided the audience through several Shakespearean scenes.

Shakespeare once wrote, “All the world’s a stage,” a sentiment proven last Friday as a student-run performance of select Shakespeare scenes came to life in front of Pardee Hall.

“Communal theater generates communal spaces,” said Liu ‘25, the creator and director of Shakespeare on the Quad. 

“I think sometimes it gets a little lonely here on campus,” Liu said. “I hope people feel a little bit less lonely coming to watch a play with other people. There’s something very magical about sharing a space with other bodies.”

With the help of visiting professor of theater Melissa Livingston, Liu casted, choreographed, directed and created the sound design for the first-of-its-kind production.

Liu prioritized accessibility in creating this event, choosing to showcase works of Shakespeare because it is in the public domain and they are a fan of his “rich and lush language.”

“The stories that he tells are so captivating, and there’s always something new to do with it, and everyone knows Shakespeare,” Liu said.

The show featured curated scenes from “Hamlet,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “King Lear,” “Macbeth,” “Twelfth Night” and “Much Ado About Nothing.” To make the transitions between these scenes run smoothly, Liu wrote three witch characters to guide the audience through the performance.

“It’s just important to kind of give that context and let people sort of see for themselves how the play’s going in that moment because they’re just scenes straight out of the play and when you remove the scenes from the play itself, it can become a little bit jumbled,” said Hannah Daskal ’27, who played one of the witches.

Daskal, along with many of her cast-mates, played multiple roles, which provided an opportunity to practice quickly switching emotions and characterization.

It was definitely a bit of a change, and it took a little bit of getting used to,” Daskal said.

The most difficult part of the show was memorizing the lengthy Shakespearean scenes “just because of how quick the turnaround time was,” according to Samantha Capone ‘27, who performed a monologue from “Twelfth Night.”

Directing their first theater production was “chaotic at first,” however, Liu embraced the uncertain nature of live theater – especially when it came to cloudy weather. 

“That’s another thing that I love about doing outdoor theater is working with the unpredictable,” Liu said. “We can prepare as much as we want, but there’s always going to be some aspect of chaos.”

“There’s something triumphant, that still, through wind and rain and inclement weather and uncomfortable heat, art prevails,” Liu continued.

The publicity of the Quad made for a unique acting experience.

“I was playing King Lear, who’s this really angry old guy who’s mad at the world, and so I’m shouting and raging and there’s just people walking by like, ‘What the heck is going on here, who’s this crazy dude just like shaking his fist at the sky,’” Ian Horch ‘27 said. “It was just fun.”

“Normally when you’re on stage and stuff, the lights itself kind of prevent you from seeing everyone in the audience, whereas on the Quad, you can see everyone looking at you so that was kind of a weird experience, but it was also a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it,” Capone said.

The cast and crew were happy with the turnout.

“All the chairs were filled and there were people standing along the corners, and as time moved on, people would kind of trickle in, and it was just so magical,” Liu said.

Liu credits the generosity and excitement of the Lafayette theater community for Shakespeare on the Quad’s success.

“This project would not exist if it wasn’t for the goodwill of other people and other people’s hunger for theater and art,” Liu said. “It was just such this reaffirming feeling, you know, seeing that these people are passionate. We do want to do things at Lafayette, we just need a chance.” 

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Isabella Gaglione, Editor-in-Chief

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