World Literature Students Write, Cast, Direct, and Perform Their Own Play

two Walker's students practicing lines for a play

Meryl Streep once said about her work, “Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there.” One reason that we teach drama in English class is because it is in the performance of the words on the page that students most fully understand the work as a whole. Moving around on the “stage,” understanding the physical realities of the characters, the nuances of their relationships, the possibilities for dramatic irony are all ways of bringing the literary work to life.

In addition to reading and performing Shakespeare’s work every year, students here have read plays as varied as August, Osage County by Tracey Letts, A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen, Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman, Lynn Nottage’s Ruined, O’Neill’s A Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire. 

A culminating feature: Students write, edit, cast and direct their own plays. They perform these in the classroom in front of each other. This spring, one of our seniors used a student-written play for her film script.