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Hebrew Academy Students Visit Shakespeare’s First Folio

On Wednesday this week both the Seniors and the Freshmen took a trip to view a piece of history at FIU’s Frost Museum: Shakespeare’s first folio.

Shakespeare’s folio is a collection of plays that William Shakespeare wrote. The folio was published in 1623, seven years after the death of Shakespeare. Plays were usually not written down. Actors would get the script at a certain moment and after memorizing all their lines they would get rid of them. After Shakespeare’s death, five actors came together and collected 36 of the plays into a published book. Today, over 230 editions of the folio exist, but it is estimated that there were originally over 700 editions. This particular folio was found very recently in a library in London England, in a section not common for Shakespearean works.  Being one of the 82 folios available to view in a condition that is still legible, the FIU campus is very excited to have it in their possession and exhibit a piece of history.

Upon entering the room that contained the folio, students immediately saw the book insulated in a glass box in 42 degrees fahrenheit, with a security guard and a motion detector that would activate an alarm if tripped. The folio is opened to Act 3 scene 1 of Hamlet, the famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy. After admiring the folio for a few minutes, the staff encouraged students to look at the walls surrounding the folio which were draped with different plays written by Shakespeare with pictures and descriptions of the actors who played characters in Shakespeare’s plays. After everyone had the opportunity to view the folio, the staff at FIU had students participate in activities. Five volunteers were given index cards with old-English words written on them. The words were insults in Shakespearean language, which were yelled at a selected person to give us a sense of how one would insult another during Shakespeare’s time. After completing this, students were able to further understand Shakespearean language. Danny Bister, Student Council President and star of the play “The Odd Couple,” read two scenes from Hamlet, which the other students then translated to modern English.

To complement the presence of the folio, a small group of students had the opportunity to view a virtual exhibit of what life was like around Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in the 1600’s. The virtual depiction of early London gave students the feel of the time and place.

In addition to Shakespeare’s folio and virtual London, students viewed The Art of Video Games exhibit, which showed how video games were created and how they have changed over the years. Students walked from a well lit room with sun light projecting inside, into a room with flashing neon lights, game consoles and the history of video games. Game systems dating back to the 1970’s lined the walls. Each console had a TV screen setup next to it that conveyed information about different games that would be played on that certain console. The room also allowed exhibit goers to actually play some of these games. One game available for people to play was Pac-man. “I’m in heaven,” said Avi Gottlieb (12th grade), as he played Pac-man.

After experiencing the art and history of video games, the Seniors visited an exhibit called “The Temptation” created by Ramon Estpantaleon as a tribute to New York City after the tragedy of 9/11 when the World Trade Center was destroyed. Three-D, miniature silicone molds portrayed the layout of the entire city of New York. In one piece from afar the layout of the city looked like the garden of Eden, likening the Big Apple to the Garden of Eden.

By: Samson Schiff

I’ll have the Shakespeare Folio with a Side of Video Games and Art

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