New honors theater, English course to focus on Shakespeare

Drew Jones

Starting next semester, Kent State honors students will have the opportunity to learn more in-depth about the works of William Shakespeare.

The class will be taught by professors from two academic departments — English and theater — said Victoria Bocchicchio, director of academic programs for the Honors College.

“This is a special-topics upper-division honors class,” Bocchicchio said. “It’s actually two classes combined, though they will meet at the same date and time.  One is a theater class number and the other is an English class number.”

Along with in class work, a main piece of this Shakespearian class will be focused on a trip to the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, Virginia.

“They do productions of Shakespeare performances as close to the original setting and costuming as possible,” Bocchicchio said of the upcoming trip.

“Our students will get to see the performances at a venue that is very similar to the old Globe Theater in England. We’re going the weekend of Oct. 16 through the 19.  We will see four plays as well as some lectures,” she said.

With the class being combined with English and theater, it will be co-taught by English professor Don-John Dugas and Rosemarie Bank, associate theater professor.  

“Drama and theater are really two sides of the same coin,” Dugas said. “That the Honors College is facilitating us to teach them as such, and with two field-trips, it’s really exciting.  We hope students will come away from this experience not only having mastered the plays we’ll be studying and hearing, but also having acquired a solid grounding in the intensely aural, physical nature of theatrical performance in early modern London.”

Along with the trip to the American Shakespeare Center, the class will also make a visit to another location for a performance, Bank said.

“We also have a trip to Orville, Ohio, where the Shakespeare performance group will be coming there,” Dugas said.

While this class is making its debut next semester, Bocchicchio was worried about the number of students that would register.

“Since it’s a special topic course, students have to pay extra for this class,” Bocchicchio said.  “I was a little worried because with anything that cost a little extra money, it’s hard economically.  You just never know if it’s going to be too much, or if students will see the value of the class.  It filled up real quickly, and I was very pleased.”

Contact Drew Jones at [email protected].