To Witt or Not To Witt: Shakespeare Society Studies Script
Passion and appreciation for Shakespeare: two pillars on which the Shakespeare Society, a Wittenberg campus club, was built, according to vice president, Jessica Hamm, ’17.
Founded by President Amanda Rogus ’17 with support from Hamm, the Shakespeare Society began during the fall semester of 2014, after the pair of roommates found that much of their free time was spent talking about an idea for a Shakespeare club.
“It is important for us to be able to share what we are passionate about,” Hamm said. “We kind of felt called to form the club, in a way.”
The club has since become a way for students to form a community with others who hold the same interests while studying the works of Shakespeare.
“I felt like I had a place where I belonged,” Hamm said. “It was wonderful to be with like-minded people who had a genuine interest in Shakespeare, and I love having all of us get together to discuss fine works of literature that have been around for hundreds of years and to see how they still apply today.”
Meetings are held in Chakeres Room 5, time and day to be announced, according to Hamm. Although there have been some difficulties early this semester in getting the word out and organizing meetings, Hamm said that she is optimistic for the club’s future and that she hopes to be able to fill the spots of seniors who graduated last year.
“[A student] doesn’t have to be a Shakespeare nut to join,” Hamm said. “We’re all learning together. Students should just come in with a desire to learn.”
A typical club meeting involves exploring one of the two worlds of Shakespeare: the literary or the theatrical. Members of the club discuss which of Shakespeare’s works they would like to study. Then, for one week’s meeting, members analyze what the work means and how it pertains to life now. The following week, members act out their favorite scenes from the work.
“Shakespeare was written to be seen. That’s why it is a crucial part of the club not just to read the works, but to act them out as well,” Hamm said.
Meetings also may include trivia questions and short, online spoofs or renditions of Shakespeare’s works, according to Cylie Hodge, ’18, public relations officer. Hodge said that viewing the short renditions at the beginning of the meetings helps her interact and connect with fellow club members and Shakespeare in ways that she would not have previously been able to. She said that the club has also tested her limits through memorization exercises and has helped with her public speaking.
In addition to holding weekly meetings, the Shakespeare Society also plans to put on a showcase of club members’ favorite scenes, hold an event for Valentine’s Day involving Shakespearean sonnets, and potentially arrange a fundraiser for students who want to attend the Stratford trip.