Professor Helga Duncan Shares Three Thoughts on the Visit by the Actors From The London Stage

November 5, 2015

English Professor Helga Duncan with the Actors From The London Stage

1. The Shakespearean troupe delivered an interdisciplinary tour de force

Regardless of what classes the actors visited—business, physics, journalism, English or biology—they forged connections with students and faculty and, in the process, they facilitated learning in new and exciting ways. Through the art of performance, and in eclectic and electric ways, they made magic, exposing students to fresh intellectual and artistic challenges across the disciplines.

2. Astounding individual and collective performances by the actors

Five actors, five weeks into a major tour produced consistently astounding performances and did so without major props or a fully designed stage set. Through nuance, cadence, mood, tone and expression, they embodied 20 Shakespearean characters and brought them to full life directly in front of our students. They demonstrated brilliantly how professional artists can stretch and reinvent themselves. These were eye-opening tutorials that our students will long remember and cherish.

3. The Bard remains relevant and powerfully so

Yes, he wrote more than 400 years ago and so much has changed in the world since then, but Shapespeare’s brilliant understanding of character, conflict, human frailty, humor, and hubris transcends time and place. His words sparkle. They inspire us and intrigue us, but most of all, they keep holding our attention as each new generation explores and reinterprets his vast body of work. To have had the Actors From The London Stage in residency helping us as a community to acquire a fuller appreciation of Shakespeare and his literary legacy was something to behold. It was sad to see them leave….but then, in the words of Shakespeare’s Juliet, “parting is such sweet sorrow.”

Professor Duncan as interviewed by Martin McGovern, Director of Communications and Media Relations