By: Lasley Cash, Staff Writer
The Amateur Shakespeare Society, founded by Rebecca Zimmerman, is a student- led organization interested in showing students how they can incorporate Shakespeare into their daily lives. The organization strives to provide students access to Shakespeare’s work, utilizing resources from the Shakespearian film collections in the James B. Duke Library and Furman English Department. By giving students an opportunity to immerse themselves with the great works of Shakespeare, the organization hopes to engage students both emotionally and intellectually, showing them the entertainment value of Shakespeare’s works.
The society, comprised of almost thirty student and faculty members, convenes every few weeks to watch Shakespearian productions.
“While sharing tea and scones, we discuss the play, its actors, its history, and its theatricality while projecting the film on a ‘big screen’ projector in the upstairs of Johns Hall.” Zimmerman said.
So far this year, members have enjoyed the Donmar Warehouse’s 2014 production of “Coriolanus” starring Tom Hiddleton, the BBC’s 2009 production of “Hamlet” starring David Tennant, and Kenneth Branagh’s 1989 “Henry V.” Zimmerman recalls one of her favorite quotations from “Coriolanus” is: “Would you have me be false to my nature? Rather say I play the man I am.”
Recently, the organization has gained interest through the Osher Livelong Learning Institute’s collaboration with the
Royal Shakespeare Company. The organization plans to attend all of the RSC showings in Furman’s Burgiss Theatre. The organization also hopes to attend events throughout the Greenville community. In particular, members enjoy attending National Theatre Live showings of Shakespearian plays across the upstate and look forward to seeing Bob Jones University’s renowned Shakespeare productions each spring.
Student’s interested in further pursuing their studies of Shakespeare can do so through the offerings in the Furman English Department. Dr. Nick Radel teaches several Early Modern Drama courses, and Furman offers a course entitled “Shakespeare in Film” every summer, most recently taught by Dr. Margaret Oaks.
Furman even has a study abroad opportunity perfect for “budding Shakespearians.” Fall Study in the British Isles program features a 10-day session working with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon. The program gives students the opportunity to work with RSC actors, directors, costume designers, make-up artists, and vocal coaches, in addition to attending RSC productions and lectures from Shakespearian scholars.
The Amateur Shakespeare Society will be meeting in the next few weeks in celebration of Halloween to watch Trevor Nunn’s 1979 “Macbeth” starring Sir Ian McKellan and Dame Judy Dench. The society welcomes all students to attend. The club is working on getting approved by SGA.