Parr started reading Shakespeare in high school, and the idea to pair Shakespearean discussion and snacks came to him shortly after he arrived on campus. The addition of pie, he said, was something he hoped would boost the club's popularity.
"I had a few friends who were interested in a Shakespeare club. But everybody loves pie," said Parr.
The ingredients needed for baking apple, chocolate, and pumpkin pies filled the center island of the Merrill kitchen, and, as it is a literary club, each one had to be named. "Apples You Like It," "Death by Chocolate," and "Pun'kin Pie" (in honor of all the pun pie names) were the eventual winners, with "Pun'kin Pie" formally changing to "Puck-in-Pie" in honor of the character Puck in Midsummer Night's Dream. Thanks to funding through the Hampshire College Theater Board, which Parr approached at the beginning of the semester, it seems that the meetings will be well stocked for at least the first few weeks.
"They're paying for all the pie," he said.
The work of making those pies, though, fell to the students. The ones who couldn't find a spot to chop, stir, or mix headed off into a far corner, where a copy of Shakespeare's collected works got the literary half of the meeting started. It was soon clear that these weren't Elizabethan-era novices, as quotes started flying, comparisons were drawn between everything from Titus to The Tempest, and a reading list was drawn up for the next semester.
"I wanted to start a Shakespeare Club at Hampshire a long time ago, but I never got around to it," she said, while noting that it didn't take the promise of dessert to get her involved. "I'm more into Shakespeare than pie."
The same goes for Claire Oberholtzer 07F, who puts Hamlet and The Tempest at the top of her Shakespeare selections. And when Tara Pozo 08F heard of the group, she realized it would fit right in with what she had been doing back home in Raleigh, North Carolina.
"I'm part of two Shakespearian troupes, the Bare Theatre and the Nickel Shakespeare Girls, a Renaissance Faire performing troupe," she said. "I'm kind of a jukebox of Shakespeare. Name the play and I'll do a speech from it."
It's that kind of interest Parr anticipated when he started the club. Meetings, complete with pies ready for naming, will be scheduled regularly throughout the semester. Parr will be approaching other offices on campus for assistance in funding. For more information, e-mail Parr at firstname.lastname@example.org.