All the Campus’s a Stage


Holden Court, at the entrance to the Malott Commons, has seen its share of intimate conversations, but few as landmark as Romeo and Juliet’s.

Students watched last fall as Shakespeare’s iconic lovers set up shop on the Engemann Family Terrace balcony, denied their fathers, refused their names, and parted with such sweet sorrow. It was just another day at the office for the Spontaneous Shakespeare troupe, whose actors are dedicated to bringing the fun of performance off the stage and into the community.

Spontaneous Shakespeare is the brainchild of Elizabeth Gibbs ’08 and Adam Kotin of Pomona College. Members, drawn from all The Claremont Colleges, come together once a month to re-enact one of the Bard’s famous scenes. In November, the Pitzer Mounds played host to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Halloween saw Macbeth’s Furies walk upon Elm Tree Lawn. Performers prepare and rehearse in the weeks leading up to the event, but the act is as much the environment as it is dialog.  The comfort of working with Shakespeare in a low-pressure environment gives the actors a chance to breathe and have fun with the material. “It’s exciting to get outside of a traditional theater space and experiment with different environments,” says Megan Hanley ’08. “It gives us a lot of room for discovery.”

Even today, many students have never seen Shakespeare performed live, but thanks to Spontaneous Shakespeare, they may no longer have a say in the matter!

Above: Nicole Guillen ’09 takes center stage on Elm Tree Lawn last fall, as her fellow Spontaneous Shakespeare actors bring the witches of Denmark to life with a performance from Macbeth. From left, Adam Kotin PO ’09, Stephanie Stein PO ’11, Guillen, and Lauren Rosenfield CMC ’11.


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