Our Shakespeare study-trip to England - 2018

The study trip was a culmination both of our three years of studies in Amirim and, more specifically, a course we had taken with the head of the Amirim program, Prof. Tzachi Zamir. The course with Prof. Zamir was titled "Shakespeare: between Text and Acting", and had a threefold aim. First, the course was designed in the hope of making the art and power of Shakespeare's work accessible to us – modern-day students whose first language is not English. Second, the course targeted the centrality of the body in acting, urging us to explore the notion of embodied understanding. Third, by combining the two other objectives, Prof. Zamir hoped to deep our appreciation of the difference between the Shakespearean play as a static work of literature as opposed to how it functions when it becomes a living, enacted piece of drama. To this end, part of the course was spent in a drama workshop, where we experienced what it means to act out a Shakespearean text, and the myriad nuances and decisions that a performer must take into account – choices which can be ignored by the literary critic.

Our trip to England was the grand finale to this course. In London and in Stratford-upon-Avon, we were able to experience Shakespearean drama firsthand, through workshops with directors, tours of theatres and historic landmarks, and by watching Shakespearean productions. Over all this towered our viewing of Gregory Doran's King Lear, starring Anthony Sher, which we saw on the penultimate evening of our stay. The play was extremely powerful, moving and enlightening. The following morning, sitting on the panoramic lawn of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, we discussed our thoughts and reactions to the play, and it became clear that as a group, the goals of the course and the trip had been achieved. We appreciated fine aspects of the drama, had insights on the acting and directing, and were moved by the beauty and power of Shakespeare at the highest level.