Students read 24 hours of the Bard
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 03:05
Sophomore Christopher Waters sat outside on the steps of Memorial Hall early Tuesday morning and read William Shakespeare’s Othello aloud, reciting the lines of each character in the play.
Despite the cold weather and being alone for an hour, he continued to read throughout the day until midnight, eventually completing a 24 hour period of time standing outside the building reciting lines from some of the Bard’s famous scripts.
“I was here an hour by myself,” Waters said. “People don’t really like to see someone talk to themselves. There was half an hour where it was hard to keep my eyes open, but with more people, I was feeling awake.”
Waters was among numerous E-52 members who participated in the student group’s annual recognition of Shakespeare’s birthday on Tuesday, when students read some of the playwright’s most-recognized scripts outside for 24 hours straight.
Sophomore Kiersten Gutherman, a member of E-52, said she read for more than five and a half hours, playing numerous roles during the day such as a nurse from “Romeo and Juliet.”
Despite the chilly weather, Gutherman said the setting helped promote a positive atmosphere while performing the playwright’s texts.
“It’s really great,” Gutherman said. “You get to hang out with friends and eat lots of snacks. It’s not as strict. You just get to have fun.”
Participants sat in a circle and read plays like “Hamlet,” “Othello,” and “The Tempest,” according to sophomore and E-52 member Carolyn Wright.
Wright said it was her first time participating in the event and she helped read plays early Tuesday morning.
“I was here last night from midnight to 4 a.m. doing Hamlet, but I’m here in between classes,” Wright said.
Waters said he recently played the part of the Phantom in E-52’s production of “The Phantom of the Opera,” which kept him from getting a full night’s sleep before the event.
“I had barely one day or so of rest between that show and sitting there, but it was totally worth it, as I completely adore everything to do with Shakespeare,” Waters said.
While he said the performance reached few spectators, numerous club members and university faculty members turned out for the event.
“We had a lot at midnight, about 12 [actors],” he said. “There’s not a lot of people walking at midnight. A few professors have stopped by and talked to us and tour groups will walk by and smile.”
Theater professor Allan Carlsen stated in an email message that Shakespeare is one of the most recognizable and influential writer’s in history and thinks it is a worthwhile commemoration of the Bard’s works.
“I think that any celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday is a worthwhile and wonderful honoring, and the fact that E-52 is recognizing it and promoting his work is a gift to our university,” Carlsen said.
Wright said the event’s marathon-like atmosphere made the celebration even more interesting while members tried to continue reading as time progressed.
“It’s especially fun at night when everyone’s tired and no one knows what’s going on,” Wright said. “Everyone is just screaming their lines.”