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Shakespeare on display at YHC

November 15, 2010

By Hailey Silvey, Staff Writer

Students line up for the cross-dressing contest in the Susan B. Harris Chapel as a part of Bard Fest. Photo by Jacob Stone

This year at Young Harris College the English department is putting on a bard fest, a festival dedicated to Renaissance poetry, with a focus on William Shakespeare. The festival was organized by Dr. Jennifer Gianfalla.

When asked about her inspiration for the festival, Gianfalla said, “I am currently teaching a Shakespeare class, and I heard from a lot of my students that they were dreading reading Shakespeare’s work. I wanted to come up with a way for them to realize that Shakespeare is fun.”

When asked if she ever experienced anything like this festival at her college, Gianfalla said, “We had a Renaissance festival at Ohio State, but I never participated in it. YHC is a good size for a festival like this, because it will give everyone a chance to participate.” Gianfalla attended Ohio State University and earned her Ph.D. in English, focusing on the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Bard fest featured a number of unique events.

Tuesday night Disney’s The Lion King was shown in the Wilson Lecture Hall in Goolsby Center, because it is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

After the movie, a poetry slam was scheduled in the student center. The winner was Andreas Von Pechmann. The second place winner was Cedric Epps, who played the piano while reading his poem.

Wednesday, a Renaissance meal was served in the dining hall. Students could eat steamship beef round with oven roasted potatoes covered in a garlic shallot sauce. During lunch, Dr. Gianfalla and some other English professors hosted Shakespeare trivia. There were questions about Shakespeare’s plays and his life. The winner was Dawn Shannon, who won a Bard Fest t-shirt.

Wednesday night, there was a showing of Romeo+ Juliet in the Wilson Lecture Hall and a Glee performance in the chapel at 9 p.m.

Thursday saw an insult contest and a cross-dressing competition that was held in the Susan B. Harris chapel. First was the insult competition, which five students competed in. In the first of two rounds, competitors had to insult celebrities with terms that would have been considered insulting in the time of Shakespeare. In round two, the competitors had to fling, “yo’ mama” jokes at various celebrities including Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Snooki, Tiger Woods, Lindsay Lohan, Justin Beiber and ‘The Situation.’

Cole Crawford won the insult competition. He won a t-shirt and an iTunes gift card. After winning, Crawford said, “it feels like I’ve just found the fountain of youth. Words cannot describe how happy I am.”

The second event of the evening was the cross-dressing competition. There were 15 competitors in all. Three were male and 12 were female. The competitors had to dress like the opposite sex and read a passage in their best male or female voice. The event was highly entertaining; and in the end, the best male dressed as a female was Aaron O’Tule.

“It is an experience I cannot even begin to explain,” O’Tule said. “I feel so pretty, yet so wrong.”

The best female dressed as a male was Elizabeth Land, who joked, “It feels pretty sweet to win. I feel manly.”

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