By Jess Gurney, Head of English
It’s amazing how close we’re located to so many of Chicago’s renowned cultural landmarks, including the Theatre District! Throughout the school year, the English Department takes advantage of the convenient access with trips that engage students in professional writing and drama. Recently, students attended three productions that brought their coursework to life on stage.
"A Christmas Carol"
There was not a “humbug” to be had during Year 9’s trip to Goodman Theatre, where we experienced a bout of seasonal cheer watching “A Christmas Carol”. Based on Charles Dickens’ classic 1843 novella, “A Christmas Carol” is the unforgettable tale of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy business man with no family and a disdain for holiday cheer and the poor in Victorian London. With the help of four ghosts on Christmas Day, Scrooge gains a new perspective and rediscovers life and love.
Students have been studying Dickens’ novella in class, and watching the story come to life gave them a different perspective of the text. They’ll soon be assessed on their understanding via an analytical essay, which will explore how Scrooge’s character develops throughout the story.
The performance served as a healthy reminder of all that we have to be grateful for this holiday season!
Year 10 students were spellbound by “The Tempest” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier. Having studied the play in Year 9, the students had a lovely chance to revisit the work in performance format.
In Year 9, students study the context of “The Tempest” and Elizabethan England. They learn skills in stage presence that aim to foster confidence in delivering Shakespeare’s language and ideas. Building towards a final assessment, students also explore and analyze how the character Prospero is presented and developed. In addition, they identify, analyze and evaluate linguistic devices and the effects achieved through them.
With the assessment well behind them, the students sat back and enjoyed!
Our high school sophomores and juniors visited Steppenwolf Theatre to watch George Orwell’s “1984”. Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece was made all the more relevant through a multimedia production that provided a haunting and shockingly timely look at a future that seems disturbingly present.
Following the performance, students participated in a post-show discussion with the actors. They contributed insightful questions – one of which elicited a round of applause from the audience!
As always, we were impressed by the students’ focus during the performances and the brilliant takeaways they shared afterwards.
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