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Shake­speare Society is expanding to include more stu­dents. | Wiki­media Commons

After playing the leading lady in the Shake­speare Society’s pro­duction of “Taming of the Shrew” in the spring, junior Molly Kate Andrews swooped into a lead­ership position in the club. As pres­ident this year, Andrews has big plans to revamp the club by adding new events that appeal to a broader audience.

The Shake­speare Society has gathered Hillsdale’s Shake­speare lovers for more than 20 years. In the past, however, its sole event was a student-directed pro­duction of one of Shakespeare’s mas­ter­pieces. 

Andrews said she hopes to transform the club into a larger and more influ­ential presence on campus. To achieve this, she incor­po­rated dif­ferent Shake­speare-related events into the cal­endar. 

She’s kicking off the year by orga­nizing a viewing of The Tower Players pro­duction of “All’s Well That Ends Well,” fol­lowed by a dis­cussion panel con­cerning the play’s char­acters, themes, plot, and acting and directing choices. She also wants to organize Shake­speare appre­ci­ation events throughout the year fea­turing various speakers, as well as events in which society members come together to read Shakespeare’s works aloud. 

“I want to make the club more acces­sible to stu­dents inter­ested in Shake­speare who don’t want to commit to rehearsal four times a week. I also wanted to appeal to stu­dents who have not been exposed to Shake­speare much,” Andrews said. “I want to create a low-impact, unpre­ten­tious envi­ronment where we can talk about Shake­speare without flicking intel­lectual ashes.” 

Assistant Pro­fessor of English Benedict Whalen, who has been the faculty advisor for the Shake­speare Society for three years, said he is thrilled that Andrews is trying to bring Shakespeare’s works to Hillsdale’s student body. 

“Shake­speare is really some­thing rel­evant for us to study because he will move our imag­i­na­tions with wonder and inspire in us the desire to know,” Whalen said. 

For its first event of the semester Sept. 28, Whalen spoke to the society about Shakespeare’s his­torical back­ground and why his work is invaluable even after 400 years. 

Despite expanding the bound­aries of the Shake­speare society, Andrews will still focus pri­marily on the pro­duction of the “Mer­chant of Venice” this spring. As always, the per­for­mance will take place in the Slayton Arboretum at the end of April, and audi­tions will be open to the whole student body. 

Andrews will co-direct “The Mer­chant of Venice” along with sophomore Mitchell Biggs, vice pres­ident of the club. 

“We chose ‘The Mer­chant of Venice’ because it is a good mix of exciting and philo­sophical,” Biggs said. “Right now, we are still estab­lishing a shared con­ception of what the play truly means, and how we can best com­mu­nicate that meaning.”