Trivia time: When did the word “swagger” first enter the English canon?
Answer: About 1590, the first appearance in print was in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
That knowledge bomb was brought to you by Laura Montes and Orion Bradshaw, two visiting actors from Ashland’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival, who treated McNary High School students to exclusive performances and workshops at the school last week.
The pair conducted a brief residency at the home of the Celtics Dec. 9 and 10. Their purpose? To de-mystify The Bard.
“Shakespeare only used about 2,100 words in all of his plays and some of them are still a mystery,” said Bradshaw.
While students in some workshops used Hamlet as a jumping off point. Others played simple word games with a Shakespearean twist. In some exercises students were tasked with making up a word (Shakespeare is famous for this) that a partner had to define and then the originator had to use it in a sentence.
Bradshaw said the point of the games was to make the player more comfortable with taking chances.
“I’m scared every time I take the stage, but I can’t let it stop me from performing,” he said.