Mr. Rick Wilson’s English 8 Classes are proud to announce they completed an entire audio recording of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, complete with original and borrowed music and art work. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced us into remote learning in mid-March, Mr. Wilson’s classes committed to this epic project, involving 21 vocal performers, with related projects in research, art, music, and creative writing. It involved focused character and textual analysis, in technological modes that were both synchronous and asynchronous. It was taught and rehearsed on Google Meets and was recorded remotely from each student’s home using the app Voxer, a walkie talkie/communication app which was used, in this case, to record all 2, 251 lines of the play!
The students were also thrilled to be in collaboration with Bel Canto Youth Chorus of Pennsylvania, under the direction of Joy Hirokawa. Mr. Wilson’s students were given special permission to use “Philomel with Melody” from Three Songs from William Shakespeare by American composer Cary Ratcliff. The Bel Canto recording and video, also by Ratcliff, has been incorporated into the English 8 video.
The recording is absolutely stunning! Mr. Wilson is extremely proud of both his classes for their perseverance and outstanding success in this undertaking. He especially credits young filmmaker, Ben Krittman (Class of 2024), for playing the role of Nick Bottom as well as serving as student audio and video editor, absolutely refusing to give up on the project. “I’m simply stunned by what these kids did,” Mr. Wilson said. “They threw their hearts and souls into the work while the coronavirus was raging all around. What they did was really extraordinary.”
Mrs. Jo Beth Roberts also collaborated on the project, helping to guide research projects in areas such as the psychology of falling in love, the history of tailors, the history of marriage laws, and how to put on a play. Creative writers took aspects of the existing plot and modernized the story.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is Shakespeare’s comic look at forbidden love, written around the same time he wrote Romeo and Juliet. The play follows four story lines and delves deeply into the madness of falling in and out of love, as well as the dangers when a love gets forbidden.
The video can be viewed at:
A huge “Thank You” to Mr. Wilson and his students for producing and sharing this remarkable work. It should be noted that Mr. Wilson managed this remarkable project at the same time he was managing the production of the Vintage magazine and the accompanying Vintage Coffee House.