We are so excited to return to Hayt Elementary for the second year in a row! We could not be here without the incredible support of the Hayt Elementary staff or the generous funding from DePaul University! Teacher Lexi Saunders is returning to Hayt and she is pretty excited about it! We sat down with her to get some insight into what her class will be working on this year...
TVP: Tell us a little about Hayt last year since it was your first time at that school.
Lexi: Hayt is honestly one of my favorite schools I have ever taught at. It's wonderfully inclusive and supportive, and our teachers and students are so excited about Viola Project! Last year we focused our 10 weeks on finding our voice and different ways to use it. The students were really curious about exploring the darker or trickier sides of their voices that they don't normally get to use. So we played a lot with darker characters like Iago, Tamora, Richard III, and Lady M, as well as other lighter characters who are tricksters or in disguise like Puck, Viola, and Rosalind.
TVP: What kinds of topics are you planning on covering in class?
Lexi: This year, we are focusing on "Activism, Advocacy, & Allyship". We'll be discussing what it really means to be a strong activist, advocate, and ally, especially as a young person of an underprivileged gender. We'll be writing sonnets on issues and causes they are passionate about, and working on scenes and monologues with characters who use their voices to speak up for themselves and others. And we'll have a ton of fun doing it!
TVP: What kinds of scenes are you interested in?
Lexi: Right now, I'm looking at scenes where a character really stands up for something, whether it be a cause, a belief, a loved one, a family member, a friend, or other. We may also include some scenes of people in power and how they wield it. I am currently considering Hermione and Paulina in Winter's Tale, Cassius and Mark Antony in Julius Caesar, Lady M in Macbeth, Cordelia in King Lear, Beatrice in Much Ado, and some others!
TVP: If you had some advice for a new student in this program who has never done Viola Project before, what would you say?
Lexi: I would tell them Viola Project is an awesomely welcoming and inclusive space to explore Shakespeare and make new friends! Our new students really loved it last year and we've got even more fun new stuff for this year!