Two Shakespearan scholars visit classes

Two Shakespearean scholars came to Jocelyn Medawar’s Shakespeare and English II classes before winter break to discuss the study of Shakespeare.

The first guest, an independent scholar and author, came to the Shakespeare class to discuss “Henry IV,” which the class read earlier in the year, and his study of Shakespeare on Tuesday, Dec. 9 during third period.

Dr. Steve Sohmer (David ’11) received his doctorate from Oxford University. Students asked questions they had for Sohmer about “Henry IV.” Medawar said she was “extremely pleased to expose the students to someone whose intellectual life is devoted to the study of Shakespeare.”

Sohmer visited sophomore classes during fifth and seventh periods to talk about “Twelfth Night.”

“He unlocked some language that traditionally dismissed as nonsense talk, such as the mystery of the names,” Medawar said.

“It was very successful, very interesting, almost a Da Vinci Code-type unraveling of a puzzle, but much smarter.”

The second guest, David Melville, the managing director, co-founder and a principal actor in The Independent Shakespeare Company, came Thursday, Dec. 11 during third period to discuss the performance of Shakespeare.

Medawar said one of the things he talked about was the difference between speaking verse versus speaking prose.

Medawar was pleased to have both Sohmer and Melville in the same week. She said the two complemented each other perfectly.

“It’s vital for students to understand that performance and scholarship go hand-in-hand,” she said.