Macbeth Moves From the Classroom to the Theater
In honor of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, Packer’s theatre department will perform Macbeth as the fall play.
Ali Boag, Upper School Theatre Director, is an avid Shakespeare fan and has had the play in mind for the Upper School since he joined Packer last year. And, considering Macbeth has been in the English curriculum for many years it’s an interesting choice.
At the end of Freshman year, not only do all 9th graders read Macbeth, they also perform scenes from the book at the end of year.
“I was aware that the freshman were doing it, and I checked with the English Department,” said Mr. Boag. “It just seemed sensible and logical thing to do and the fact that people have done it before is helping”.
Eric Weisberg, 9th Grade English teacher, is thrilled to see Macbeth on Packer’s stage. In fact, he is planning on incorporating Packer’s Macbeth cast members into his teaching of Macbeth this spring. Funnily enough, Iva Fehr (‘17), who played Lady Macbeth her freshman year in English, is now playing Lady Macbeth this year as a senior.
“My scene partner Paul and I had a Bates Motel theme,” said Iva, reflecting on her freshman year performance. “All I really remember is coloring my hands with red marker to make it look like I had blood on them.”
She also thinks that having read Macbeth freshman year is an advantage to many of the cast members.
“Most of us in the cast already have a basic understanding of plot points and symbolism,” said Iva. “Now we can use what we’ve learnt in class to deepen our understanding of the roles that we play. Acting in scenes helps to appreciate the relationships Shakespeare has built between certain characters that are not immediately evident on the page.”
The stars of the production are Reese Kennedy (‘18) as Macbeth, Iva Fehr (‘17) as Lady Macbeth, and Delilah Draper (‘18) as lead witch.
Mr. Boag wants the witches to play a central role in the production and the cast has talked about how to revitalize the fear people once had for witches that has since been lost over time.
“We’ve been talking about who are the scariest women, and what kind of women really frighten us now,” said Mr. Boag.
Another interesting twist for Mr. Boag is teaching Shakespeare in America. The curriculum here takes on different approach to the text than is done in England. He talked about the way Shakespeare is taught in the different countries.
“The [shows] I’ve done before have all been in England, and there are subtle differences in the way that Shakespeare is approached in English classes in England as opposed to the way it’s taught in English classes in America,” said Mr. Boag. “Therefore you’re dealing with people who have grown up in a different sort of tradition, and in some ways I’m finding out what that means”.
Macbeth will open in the Pratt theatre on November 03 through till November 05.