Outside the box

Outside the box

Tiffany Lau

Unlike the usual literature class, Humanities goes outside of Cupertino to learn

Most literature classes watch a movie based on the book they have been reading. But on Nov. 5, the two Humanities classes went beyond the classroom and to the stage by watching "Otello" by Giussepe Verdi live at the San Francisco Opera. The Humanities class is currently reading "Othello" by William Shakespeare, which "Otello" is based on. The only difference is that the opera condenses down Shakespeare’s five acts into four, omitting Act I.  

Humanities teacher Stacey McCown takes roll before the students board the bus for their trip to the San Francisco Opera. Photo by Tiffany Lau.
Professional opera’s, in general, don’t appeal to many teenagers but Humanities teacher Stacey McCown hoped her students would get the most out of this experience. Donning formal attire, students were exposed to something radically different.

"San Francisco is culturally diverse, the center for art, and different from Cupertino," senior Chris Yoo said.

In class McCown prepared her students for the field trip, making sure they understand the language of Shakespeare and the play itself. "Othello" explores the nature of good versus evil and the merits of jealousy. The opera will allow students to visualize and feel the emotions of one of Shakespeare’s most tragic plays. After all, Humanities is the study of the human condition.

"We are able to see [Othello] shown in a different perspective," senior Natalie Pastuszka said, "which is partly what the class wants to encourage, thinking on different levels and perspectives."

Not only did McCown want her students to experience something new, she also wanted to enhance their understanding of the relationship between art, philosophy and literature. That was one of the reasons Yoo took the class, as he plans to major in art.

"I want to learn to appreciate art, literature and music. I want to better myself as an artist," Yoo said.

Opera itself is an art that combines world class stories, music and drama. The Humanities class is a combination of art and literature. An opera may just be the trick to keep students from falling asleep in class.