“Thou infectious clay brained scut!” “Thou impertinent fustilarian!”
These statements, found in colorful scrawl across a (faux) brick wall, are not the typical graffiti one would find at North Point High School, in Waldorf, Maryland, in 2011. Then again, on April 29, North Point was not as normal as it seemed. In the upper gym, the world of William Shakespeare, considered by many to be the greatest writer to have ever lived, came to life.
The Shakespeare Festival was a project of the ninth grade English teachers, who hoped that taking on the lives of men and women from Elizabethan England would allow their students a learning experience unlike any other.
Ms. Wyse, a member of the ninth grade English team, believed that the festival and the projects her students had to do in conjunction with it would make them more passionate about Shakespeare as they begin to read his classic, Romeo & Juliet. The students are also in the process of completing research papers on the life and times of Shakespeare.
The Festival featured various categories of student research, projects, and activities. Elizabethan fashion magazines featuring feathered caps and long, flowing dresses lined one table while models of the Globe Theater, Shakespeare’s dramatic home, in popsicle stick, Lego, and cardboard sat atop another. Law Books written on yellowing paper warned against high crimes in English society, including stealing bird eggs, treason, and spying, a transgression for which someone could expect to be “burnt to a fine crisp.” Travel guides urged readers to visit famous Elizabethan sites, like the Blackfriars neighborhood and the Globe itself.
Students were very receptive to the festival, entering the gym excited to commence the activity. “(The Festival) lets you understand the traditions and cultures of ancient England and understand Shakespeare’s life and writings,” said Keeley Hullfield (’14). Kieran Douglas (’14) simply stated, “It’s amazing.”