Information provided by Bishop Noll Institute
HAMMOND, Ind. (January 31, 2022) – A play that was first performed on stage more than 415 years ago will find new life in the virtual world thanks to Chicago Shakespeare Theater and dozens of Chicago area high schools including Bishop Noll Institute.
Four Bishop Noll students will perform the opening scene of Shakespeare’s classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream at 7 p.m. on February 2 with audiences able to stream the program live at chicagoshakes.com/slam2021. Bishop Noll will be the only Indiana school in the program.
Hosted by Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Shakespeare Slam program features dozens of teams celebrating the power of Shakespeare and their own voices. Throughout the fall, teams rehearsed and filmed in preparation for their world premiere. This year marks the third year BNI has participated in Shakespeare Slam.
Bishop Noll students participating include Anna Gee, of Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood; Jayla Lee, of Glenwood; Abigail Wojtaszek, of Hammond; and Hailey Wojtaszek, of Hammond.
“Slam gets students to step outside their comfort zones and engage with texts in a way they might not otherwise have the opportunity to do. They get to see that Shakespeare is accessible and relevant to them here and now. It is so amazing hearing students speak Shakespeare’s words fluently and in a way few adults even can. Plus, students get to meet peers from around the Chicago area and get feedback from not only them but also professional actors and directors who run workshops for us throughout the fall. It really is a great opportunity for them provided by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater,” said Bishop Noll English teacher and Slam coach Samantha Chapleau.
Chapleau said her goal is for the students to take ownership of their scenes with her as their guide. She enjoys seeing their ideas emerge.
“Normally, there is a competition component to Slam (sort of like a speech tournament). These past few years due to COVID, we have done a lot of things remotely and, instead of competition, have filmed scenes to be combined with the scenes of other schools into a full-length production. I love that students have this shared finished product and highly encourage the BNI community to tune in and watch,” Chapleau said.
BNI senior Abigail Wojtaszek is participating in Shakespeare Slam for the second time and said Chapleau is a good but demanding coach.
“We’ve learned how to understand Shakespeare’s writing from her, since she has a lot of expertise in that field,” said Wojtaszek, who takes college level ACP composition and literature classes at BNI.
Wojtaszek plans to double major in theater and political science in college and said the acting skills used in Shakespeare Slam will benefit her in her college acting classes.
“I came back to SLAM because I had a lot of fun last year, and brought my sister along with me as well. I’m really excited to see all of our hard work being put together into a really cohesive show.”
Bishop Noll Institute is located at 1519 Hoffman Street, Hammond, Indiana.