BY SARAH TEREZ-ROSENBLUM
At 15, each moment poised and crucial, I could devote an afternoon to interpreting the tone of my crush’s voice when he said hi … to the girl standing next to me. Once, he wrote this incredible song about me, well, I thought it was about me, but it turned out to be an ode to his car. This other time, my friend almost OD’d, but she didn’t and on like, a daily basis, my other friend got beat up, just cause he hung out in the girls’ room, even though he’s a boy.
And sometimes? When it was like, physically impossible to like … stop … tucking my hair behind my ear, I just wished I had an outlet. I wished for the Bard.
So, maybe those aren’t my memories. Maybe those are plot points from “My So-Called Life” (which, by the way, I’m still petitioning ABC to resurrect). Although slightly less eventful than Angela Chase’s, my teenage years included one thing hers lacked: Shakespearean study at a Wisconsin theater school. Enmeshed in hormone-fueled drama, Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers and mistaken identity twists seemed, not implausible or melodramatic, but reflective of my day-to-day ups and downs.
A decade later, who knows if my alma mater survived? But right here in Chicago, Reina Hardy is offering teens an outlet – teenage girls, that is. She founded The Viola Project, an all-girls Shakespeare workshop company, to allow girls to “take a break from the stresses of adolescence, move their bodies around, play pretend, get ugly. Plus, it's the perfect way to reclaim the Western canon, and own a part of [their] cultural heritage.”