USD celebrates Shakespeare during ‘First Folio’ stay
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USD celebrates Shakespeare during ‘First Folio’ stay

Shakespeare once said that “all the world’s a stage”. To celebrate that, some of USD’s stages will be performed on during the visit of Shakespeare’s First Folio.

Shakespeare’s First Folio is staying in Vermillion this month at the National Music Museum. The NMM and USD are hosting different speeches and concerts in honor of the artifact’s visit. Chair of the English Department Darlene Farabe, wrote the grant to qualify Vermillion for the opportunity to host the artifact.

“Of the 38 plays that are in the folio, 18 of them were never printed before they were in that book,” Farabee said. “There’s a decent chance we wouldn’t have them if not for the folio. They are plays like ‘Macbeth,’ ‘As You Like It,’ ‘Julius Ceasar,’ very major plays.”

Farabee scheduled a month full of events and speakers relating to Shakespeare.

Some of those events have already included a presentation regarding the different styles of illustration from past publications of Shakespeare’s works, a concert complete with Renaissance music and a screening of the movie “Shakespeare in Love” at the Coyote Twin Theater.

In April, the MUC will host a ‘Write the Night Away’ writing marathon and Shakespearean sonnet contest.

Another event, called ‘Shakespeare in South Dakota: A Symposium,’ took place on March 18 and 19 at Farber Hall in Old Main. During these sessions, several presentations were given, along with readings of play incerpts by students.

This event was meant to tie Shakespeare to South Dakota exclusively, Farabee added.

On March 18, Jayna Fitzsimmons, artistic director of the Bare Bodkins Theater Company in Sioux Falls, and Chaya Gordan-Bland, artistic director of the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival in Vermillion, gave presentations about how they’ve represented Shakespeare in South Dakota.

To end the first session, a presentation was given by Chelsea Campbell about how 19th century newspapers in South Dakota resembled or included Shakespeare, followed by coffee and refreshments.

Following a presentation by Kathy Dean, director of the Wessington Springs Shakespeare Garden, senior musical theater major Jacob Mitchell presented Hamlet’s famous “To Be or Not To Be” speech.

“I have performed Shakespeare before,” Mitchell said. “The first time I did it was my freshman year of high school, where I had to recite a different monologue from Act 1 Scene 2 of Hamlet. Most recently, I was in USD’s production of Romeo and Juliet where I performed as Tybalt.”

Mitchell added he didn’t have to memorize the speech but was only given the speech two days in advance to look over.

“As I do with a lot of Shakespeare and period style plays, I made notes on the pages, looked up any words that were confusing and did my own paraphrasing,” Mitchell said. “This makes it so that I could perform the piece as it was written.”

Farabee said she contacted students who had taken the Shakespeare class in previous semesters to see if they were interested in reading for the event.

The Saturday sessions closed with a presentation about teaching Shakespeare to South Dakota Native American students and a presentation about translating Hamlet’s “To Be or Not To Be” speech to Lakota by Armik Mirzayan, a linguist at USD.

“There are over 15 different ways to write in Lakota,” Mirzayan said. “The way I use is the one that is taught in classes now as standard. It’s difficult to translate Shakespeare to Lakota because everything would be backward in Lakota and possibly portray a different meaning. So translating makes for a lot of decision making.”

The Lakota language is central to the Dakotas, reaching into Canada and Minnesota, Mirzayan added. The translation made a distinct correlation of Shakespeare to the history of South Dakota.

Farabee said having the First Folio in South Dakota brings a lot of culture to the state.

“When I was working on this project in the early planning stage, I thought it was really important that this exhibition distinctly connect to the rich, interesting history of Shakespeare in South Dakota,” she said.

The First Folio closing reception will be held April 2 in the Shakespeare Garden and NMM. This event will be a final celebration of the Folio exhibit and of Shakespeare and will include a birthday cake in honor of Shakespeare’s birthday month.