SHAKESPEARE Performers bring the Bard to Girard

Some high school pupils are getting an understanding of more than literary words.
GIRARD -- Girard High School students say they're getting a better understanding of Shakespeare by seeing his works in action.
Two actors from the Great Lakes Theater Co. in Cleveland are spending the week showing English students how the classic works relate to modern problems, issues and people.
"I could understand the play more," said senior Lauren Jacobs after a presentation by the two actors.
"When they did it [a play] for us, we understood it," commented another senior, Anne Revella.
This is the fifth year that Great Lakes has been involved in the schools.
Anna Ciambotti, a senior English teacher who heads the program, said Girard is only area school to feature the program.
Funding: Funds to bring the actors, Chris Bohan of Cleveland and Shalene Shimer of North Olmsted, to Girard came from student council and various grants.
"It gives the kids hands-on experience and [the] ability to participate in a play rather than [only] reading it," Ciambotti said.
During the week, Bohan and Shimer put on portions of Shakespeare's "MacBeth," "The Crucible," "Romeo and Juliet" and "Julius Caesar."
The actors teach four classes a day for five days, ending Friday.
"It ties in with what we think is important: music, drama, art and promoting culture and literary efforts," Ciambotti said.
"I like the idea that we're the only school in the area to do this," the English teacher added.
Theatrical elements: Besides learning about the plays, students are exposed to costumes, props, stage combat, body language and voice inflection.
Bohan, 29, has his degree in theater and economics from Lehigh University, while Shimer, 25, received her degree in theater from Miami University in Oxford.
They are among 10 actor/teacher pairs at Great Lakes that spend 30 weeks a year at schools.
Shimer said students are enthusiastic 80 percent of the time.
"We teach them respect for the word," Shimer said.

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