Amelia Dornbush '15 Studies, Performs Shakespeare in Abu Dhabi

by Celina De Léon
Amelia Dornbush '15 (left)
Amelia Dornbush '15 (left) during a rehearsal of the Tri-Co troupe's Shakespearean adaptation "dream caliban" at NYU Abu Dhabi. (photo by Katherine Rowe)

Amelia Dornbush '15, a theater major from Atlanta, Ga., spent her spring break in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), with 10 Tri-College (Tri-Co) Consortium peers from Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges. The trip was part of a Bryn Mawr 360º class cluster titled "Performance Across Language and Culture." Two courses make up the offering - "Multilingual Shakespeare" and "Acting Across Language." From March 15-19, Dornbush and her Tri-Co classmates joined teams of undergraduate students from American University of Sharjah, Cairo University, New York University (NYU) Gallatin, NYU Tisch, and UAE University in Al-Ain at NYU Abu Dhabi's first Global Shakespeare Student Festival. The students performed, led and attended workshops, and studied Shakespeare in classroom settings.

"I think it would not be an exaggeration to say that this was one of the most meaningful events that I have experienced," says Dornbush, who was company manager of the trip, after her first vist to the city. "The time I spent at the Global Shakespeare Student Festival was an intense whirlwind, both on a creative and academic level. It was a truly remarkable experience that will continue to impact me and the way I view art."

Dornbush's troupe performed their adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest. As part of the course cluster, students studied Shakespeare adaptation across culture and created their own. The troupe's adaptation of The Tempest - "dream caliban" - centered on the character Caliban. The 20-minute performance featured original Shakespearean text and students' unique translation of Shakespeare's play text across six languages - Afrikaans, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish - as well as Jibberish.

"One of the concepts I learned while studying [adaption across culture] this semester is that we can communicate very distinct concepts without necessarily sharing a common language," says Dornbush, who performed in French.

In addition to the performance, Amelia led a workshop with her Tri-Co peers for the 54 student and faculty attendees of the conference. The workshop, "Multilingual Storytelling," discussed how to coherently tell one story in many languages.

About the Tri-College Consortium
Consortium agreements with Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges and the University of Pennsylvania broaden the opportunities available to Swarthmore students by allowing them to take courses offered at these institutions.