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InterACT is a fantastic educational out reach program but don’t just take our word for it…
Here is the place to see responses from teachers and students from evaluations, letters sent to us and the odd video that students decided to make.
We are inundated every year by letters, pictures, photos and sometimes even video to say thank you to our teaching artists and the festival for the workshops that we provide – this page is currently under contruction so more letters, pictures and videos will be added in the coming days…
February 26, 2011
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing in response to a visit from Joe Atack from the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival (LTSF) to my school, Rainshadow Community Charter High School on Tuesday, January 18th 2010. Mr. Atack visited my Performing Arts class at the end of the first semester and gave my students a short but impressive introduction to Shakespeare, concentrating on Romeo and Juliet, as well as Midsummer’s Night Dream in the space of an hour and a half. Mr. Atack was able to give my students a short primer of Shakespeare’s writing style, meter, and time in which his works were received, and then he moved on to including all six of my students in a scene from each play. This was the amazing part of his presentation, for he was able to successfully recite words verbatim from the original scripts and place students in numerous roles, asking students to repeat after him in dramatic fashion. He moved the students throughout the scenes, asking them questions to check for comprehension, and explaining character motivations and Shakespeare’s intent in several of the scenes.
Mr. Atack is a consummate professional with a true gift in working with high school students. All my students the following day raved about how great Mr. Atack was, and asked when he would come again. I would recommend Mr. Atack to any teacher teaching Shakespeare in an English Literature class to a film or drama instructor.
InterACT Evaluations and Teacher Comments 2011 – Please click to read!
A quick smaple of some testimonials from 2010 – Please click to read!
A letter from Ani Taylor, 6th Grade Student Mitchell Elementary School – 2011 – click to read!
This is a link to a video created by two students from Incline Middle School – The Macbeth Rap (the 8th grade English stduents spent a week working on Macbeth with Education Director, Joe Atack March 2011) – Please click to read!
Wherefore art thou Han Solo?
InterACT By Molly Hofmann
Reno News and Review
Scene six of Romeo and Juliet plays out in Amy Chatowsky’s sixth grade classroom at Elmcrest Elementary. Juliet asks that timeless question, “Wherefore art thou Romeo?”
Alina Modisette plays Juliet. She’s a raven-haired child with almond eyes and a winning smile. Giggling and blushing in the center of the room, she wants to know if she and Romeo are getting married.
Her Romeo is played by Keny Chavez. He’s one of the taller boys in class, with olive skin and dark hair, wearing jean shorts and a green T-shirt.
Elmcrest Elementary is stimulating student interest in the performing arts by taking advantage of free theater workshops with the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. The InterACT workshops began in March and continue through Aug. 7. Bookings are scheduled all year, and each workshop is tailored to kids.
“This free program is a big benefit and a great experience, exposing kids to Shakespeare,” says Chatowsky. She says that the school could not afford to pay for students to experience Shakespeare with a seasoned professional.
Joe Atack enjoys conducting student workshops. He works with socially and economically at-risk schools and youth groups from Wadsworth to Gardnerville, reaching students from first grade to seniors.
“I’ve done classes with 60 kids and just me,” Atack says. “The idea is super flexible, and in the classroom, you find accommodations.”
This is his third and final visit to Elmcrest, which is one of 23 Northern Nevada workshop sites.
With his English accent, Atack recites the lines when the script poses difficulties for the young actors. He uses laughter, inflection and hand gestures to reel the students into the scene like hooked fish.
Atack asks them to consider three questions: What does my character want? What does my character do to get what he wants? What obstacles are in the way? The students discuss a myriad of obstacles, like the weather, class structures, emotions and intentions that may influence a character’s actions.
During a dueling scene, Atack asks, “What’s a rapier?” An eager student answers that it’s a fencing sword. “It’s a precision weapon for stabbing vital organs,” Atack elaborates.
Ears perk up when Atack asks if the students are familiar with Star Wars, drawing an analogy between the light saber and the rapier as sophisticated weaponry. Light bulbs ignite within students’ heads, and the classroom energy sizzles as the scene portrays death by rapier.
Atack asks if Romeo is responsible for Mercutio’s death. Again, the students relate to this character through Star Wars as Romeo turns to the dark side, killing Tybalt to avenge Mercutio’s death. The kids cheer when Tybalt receives his death jab.
In the final act, Romeo enters the tomb, kneeling by his lovely, poison-filled Juliet. He’s heading into eternity with his beloved, but these two star-crossed lovers rest a safe two feet apart from one another on the floor.
Atack nudges the pair to get closer, “This is not you, now; it’s Romeo and Juliet.”
Students gather around the dead couple, and Atack quips, “Heaven kills your joy with love.” With this parting line, the students clap, rise and exit stage left for recess.
For more information on any of our educations programs please browse our education pages, or contact Education Director Joe Atack at firstname.lastname@example.org or at direct at 775-298-0175