Elizabeth Hess

Dec 2017

Do NOT take this course - at least not while Elizabeth Hess teaches it. The title and course description suggest an in-depth look at Shakespeare and the different techniques that can be employed in the modern day performance of it. This is misleading and deceptive. Not only is there absolutely no structure, but there is also very little actual instruction regarding Shakespeare given. Elizabeth disregards the syllabus completely, giving vague descriptions of assignments, and then getting upset when students fail to meet the specific aspects she demands. It is not only frustrating, but also anxiety-inducing. It is clear that she is a new instructor in the department, as the concept of grading is lost on her. Despite turning in multiple typed assignments as well as performing scenes, we received NO GRADES the entire semester. This is a four hour per week class, and two of the hours are spent on frivolous "exercises" that bear no semblance to Shakespeare or even really performing in general. I am familiar with the concept of theatre warm-ups and exercises and believe that those are quite beneficial, but the "exercises" done in Elizabeth's class are certainly not these and prove to be a waste of time. Elizabeth herself creates a rather unprofessional and unwelcoming environment for performance. She frequently asks actors to do things that they are clearly not comfortable with, and makes an alarming number of sexual comments throughout every single class. This course, in theory, has the potential to be extremely stimulating and intellectual, but until a more competent professor takes its reins, steer clear.