Monday, July 19, 2010

An Intern's-Eye View

Emma Patrick, one of three college students interning with our Education Department's 2010 summer programs, writes about her experience working with students in last month's 'Shakespeare Intensive for Teens' on their production of Twelfth Night:

"I have loved Shakespeare since I was eleven and I saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the first time. All throughout high school I was surrounded by people who thought Shakespeare was dull and boring. I could never figure out why they didn’t know that Shakespeare was alive and exciting! That’s why I was so excited when I learned that I would be interning at the Tavern with the Shakespeare Intensive for Teens (SIT) program. I had the chance to work with thirteen high school kids who were passionate about theater and Shakespeare and who wanted to share their passion with each other and with their audiences. As an intern, my job was to support the instructors and make sure the kids had the best experience possible, which meant doing anything from making copies to participating in combat classes. The whole process was sometimes stressful, sometimes funny, but never boring. While I was helping the kids learn, I also learned so much about theater and teaching theater by watching Matt Felten, Tiffany Porter, and Andy Houchins work with the kids!

By far the most rewarding part of the whole month-long experience was standing backstage and seeing the giant smiles on the kids’ faces as they came off the stage Saturday evening after their first show. They were so proud of themselves, and rightly so. They had done an outstanding job with just four weeks of rehearsal. In addition to memorizing their parts and rehearsing what was put on stage, the students also learned two songs and participated in a whole host of classes and games, from improv to combat and everything in between.

In addition to helping out with SIT Session 1, I also got to observe one of my fellow interns working with the Shakespeare Superheroes program, ASC’s summer camp for 7-13 year olds that presents scenes and monologues from two of Shakespeare’s plays at the end of two weeks. Even more amazing than the fact that middle schoolers were speaking Shakespeare, and understanding it, was the fact that they had gotten their parts, memorized them, and rehearsed enough to put on a simply astounding show, all within two weeks.

Now that Session 1 of SIT is over, I’m doing administrative work and learning just how much it takes behind the scenes to make an organization like the Atlanta Shakespeare Company run smoothly. Every so often I can hear shouts from down the hall where the second session of SIT is rehearsing As You Like It and I can’t wait to see what I’m sure will be another amazing show."

-Emma Patrick, Education Intern