Theatre, English departments join to bring Shakespeare play to life

Although Baldwin Wallace’s BFA Acting program is still a new addition to the performing arts at BW, it has already produced some amazing productions featuring talented students.
One of these students, Esma Eddeb, is a BA Acting and Directing and English double major.
For her senior project, Eddeb endeavored to put on a production of Shakespeare’s comedy, Love’s Labour’s Lost, which was performed March 15 and 16.
When deciding how she wanted her project to come together, Eddeb enlisted the BW English Department to help fulfill a specific goal she had in mind.
According to Dr. Susan Oldrieve, Associate Dean for the School of Humanities, Eddeb’s goal was to create a production that included English majors, not solely acting majors, as part of the cast.
“The reason I, as a faculty member, like having this staged reading through the English department is that I believe very strongly that you get a full sense of the artistry and power of a play only by seeing it, or better yet, participating in a performance of it,” Oldrieve said. “I think that English majors deserve to experience that incredible feeling of living inside a work of literature that we usually experience only from outside of it. It’s fun, exhilarating, and enlightening.”
Love’s Labour’s Lost was performed as a staged reading, meaning that the actors had their lines in front of them the entire time, said Oldrieve.
She also explained that the Acting in Shakespeare course that is so well-loved by the acting department started out as an English course, but soon became much more popular among BW’s young actors. Oldrieve said that including English majors in this staged reading provided them with an opportunity they often don’t get to take.
So, what was it like being an English major in this production? Bridget Mysliwiec, a sophomore at BW, said she was more than grateful for the chance to participate in the reading.
“Having the opportunity to be a cast member in Esma’s production of Love’s Labour’s Lost was very rewarding as an English major,” Mysliwiec said. “Acting in a Shakespeare play while taking a Shakespeare course allowed me to perform and experience the type of literature that I read, analyze and love.”
She went on to say that acting alongside BFA and BA Acting majors was a bit intimidating, but a true honor, and she believes that she learned a lot from them.
Also playing a role in the production was Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honors Society at BW.
BW’s chapter President, Sean Kelley, explained that this was the first year Sigma Tau Delta sponsored the staged reading, but that in the future, the society will continue to help choose and sponsor the production.
“In the future, members of Sigma Tau Delta will be voting on what play to do for the staged reading, and then a director will be chosen from the acting students,” Kelley said. “We are hoping that more English majors and minors will audition for the staged readings, because a playwright’s work is meant to be performed, so we lose a significant aspect of their art when we just read the script.”
Both Kelley and Oldrieve emphasized that plays in the future will not be limited to Shakespeare. Any play will be a viable option.
Oldrieve said that she hopes to make the staged reading and annual event every spring semester.