Scenes, Soliloquies and Sonnets: Students to celebreate Shakespeare’s birthday

By Abigail Meredith, Assistant Arts Editor

Shakespeare’s wit has entertained lovers of literature and theater for hundreds of years. Both, taking shape through the OBU English and the OBU Theatre departments, are banding together April 20, Shakespeare’s birthday, to celebrate his life and work with refreshments and readings of his literature.

Ashley Hontz, a sophomore Secondary English Education major, is working to plan the event. She shared her perspective, and explained her role.

“I am a part of the College Players, and I am the head of the show, which means that I am in charge of the organization of the show,” she said.

Hontz talked about what the event would consist of.

“This event is open to anyone who wants to recite or read a selection from one of Shakespeare’s plays. The afternoon will consist of these readings along with some refreshments and fellowship like we Baptists do, all in celebration of Shakespeare,” she said.

Samantha King, a senior Theatre major, plans to read a piece for the celebration

“I am performing Dogberry’s monologue from ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. We did this show my sophomore year, in which I played a modernized and female Dogberry. It was one of my favorite roles and therefore I love reliving this comic character whenever I can,” King said.

She also shared how the event usually goes.

“What usually happens is a group gathers with a lot of wonderfully prepared food and we snack as we listen to each other read our favorite pieces of Shakespeare,” King said.

This event takes planning, but Hontz was very enthusiastic.

“We have been planning all semester, but have really cracking down in the past couple weeks,” She said.

In order to make this event the celebration it is, the theatre department has been working with the English department. Hontz talked about the experience.

“The collaboration between College Players and the English Department has been a wonderful experience. Our shared love of Shakespeare has brought us together and I think that is amazing,” Hontz said.

Hontz praised specific professors in the English department, for they were all very helpful.

“Dr. Young, Dr. Meyers and Connie Peters from the English department have been working with College Players on this. And every single one of them is so important and brings a different angle and talents to what we are doing,” she said.

All these talents are merging together into a wonderful celebration of Shakespeare. King explained why celebrating Shakespeare’s influence was important.

“Celebrating Shakespeare is important, not only for his important role in shaping literature and theatre, but for his role in shaping language and culture itself. Shakespeare was progressive for his time and yet simultaneously is timeless. He often took a well known story or at least an idea, and took it to a new level of artistry,” she said.

King shared why this celebration was important to the OBU community, who appreciated fine arts.

“It is important for OBU because of Shakespeare’s influences I mentioned previously. But also, appreciating art of all forms is important for the sake of being a human. Art imitates life and therefore art teaches us about life, even if it’s not trying to. That is why appreciating those who in art are considered to be ‘greats’ is important,” King said.

Hontz encouraged students and faculty of all departments to join in the celebration April 20. The event will be held in the Sarkey’s black box.

“Anyone can attend we would love people from all walks of life to be there. Everyone would benefit from coming. You are welcome to read. Anyone who wants to can recite or read a selection from one of Shakespeare’s plays. There really isn’t any event on campus like it. Thespians, literature fanatics, and anyone breathing can get together and celebrate our shared love of Shakespeare,” she said.

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