Performing a Shakespeare play for the school community is a Powhatan tradition that lends itself to cross-curricular learning. In the early weeks of the school year, while the actors became familiar with their Macbeth roles and lines during drama class, they concurrently studied Shakespeare and the play itself in English class.
After researching Shakespeare’s life, his theater, and suggestions for reading and understanding his language, the students learned drama-specific terminology while reading, discussing, and writing about the play, scene by scene, in order to understand the basics of Macbeth’s plot, characters, and settings. Next, they drafted section summaries in small groups, which they compiled in a cohesive reader-friendly story version for the school community.
Finally, they wrote brief, first-person character descriptions that are posted in the library so that play-goers can familiarize themselves with “who’s who” of the cast. So, the eighth graders have studied their lines and learned about the man and meaning behind them. The English class publications and the drama class’ final project, the three performances, will pave the way for the rest of us to understand and enjoy Powhatan’s 2017 Shakespeare production, Macbeth!