To be or not to be: Shakespeare class returns to Liberty

Tyra Christopherson, Staff Writer

The Shakespeare class reappeared at Liberty this year, with students studying several sonnets and two full-length plays.  The class, which is only offered when enough students sign up for it, starts off the semester with sonnets, short 14-line poems to get students adjusted to reading Shakespeare.

“People think they’re love poems, but it turns out they have these very messy relationships and complicated feelings throughout them, so they’re really interesting stories in themselves,” Klekas said.

The class then transitions to looking at two plays for the rest of the semester: Othello and Twelfth Night. Othello is a new addition to the curriculum, replacing Hamlet because the AP Literature classes study it, but Twelfth Night has been part of the curriculum for years.

“Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, and it’s very complex and interesting. It’s a lot about things all people – but particularly high school students – might be dealing with,” Drama teacher Katherine Klekas said.

Klekas teaches the class with a variety of interactive activities. Students role-play, act out improve situations, and play with the language in order to better understand Shakespeare’s plays.

“I see kids grow from intimidated or insecure or afraid to do something wrong or assuming that they don’t get it to confident and having their own opinions and making an effort to grasp some hard ideas or some hard language,” Klekas said.

In addition to increasing students’ confidence, Klekas believes the class improves students’ reading abilities and opens doors for students to enjoy literature in general.

“It’s a life prep class because Shakespeare’s not just for graduate students of English majors. It’s not. It’s real-life stuff,” Klekas said.