Danielle O’Farrell, a 2002 Papillion-La Vista High School graduate, returned to the community last week to work with local students.

O’Farrell, an actress in New York City who has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company director, spent three days working on a theater workshop with Jeff Nienheuser’s play production class at Papillion-La Vista South High School. She shared her experiences and gave students tips and best practices for on-stage success.

O’Farrell’s background in Shakespeare, language and technique, and her ties to the district made her a good candidate for the workshop, which focused on Shakespeare.

“A lot of people say once you can read Shakespeare you can do anything,” O’Farrell said. “It’s a skill that goes across all plays. Once you can do the hardest thing you can do the others with more ease.”

Students learned how to better understand Shakespeare, as well as how to bring the lines to life.

“We’ve been talking a lot about the language and dissecting it,” said Hyum Stephen, PLV South junior and play production student.

Stephen said the first day of the workshop, students were given a lot of information and terms.

The second day, students applied what they had learned to a 10-line monologue of their choice, and the third day, students practiced that application and made the words come to life.

Stephen said their study of iambic pentameter, a metrical line measured in syllables, the first day, was the most beneficial element for him, especially when he applied it to his lines.

“The language isn’t really hard for me but the rhythm is,” Stephen said. “It helped everyone understand the language a little bit more.”

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