From the famed Globe Theatre in London, to the storied halls of UC Davis, Shakespeare has made its way to California.
English teacher Grace Morledge has joined the Globe Education Academy for Teachers to give students the opportunity to participate in a performance of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”
“I applied several years ago and was not accepted at the time,” Morledge said. This year, however, she was able to spend two weeks in London learning techniques about how to perform Shakespeare.
English and drama teachers from the Sacramento region will lead 11 groups of students in performing one portion of the play. The Bear Creek group consists of seven students, some of whom have been in drama productions at this school and at other community theaters.
Morledge said that forming a group of thespians excited about performing Shakespeare wasn’t an easy task.
“Bear Creek students are so busy that it was practically impossible to pull people together in a timely matter,” Morledge said.
With determination, Morledge rounded up seven voluntary actors before the fall break: Joseph Cremona, Giancarlo Lizarraga, Elizabeth Malone, Jessie Nelson, Serra Raquel and Kirsten Weber.
“I thought it would be a fun way to still be involved with theater and Shakespeare would be a nice challenge,” said junior Serra Raquel, who co-starred as Sandy Dumbrowski in last year’s “Grease.”
The Bear Creek group is performing Act 5, scenes 2 through 8 where Macbeth contends with MacDuff and Malcolm. CTE instructor and actor Romyl Mabanta leads the Rio Valley Charter School students from Lodi as they perform as MacDuff’s army.
During their practice together, the students were joined by Tas Emiabata, an actor and teacher from the Globe Theater. Emiabata assisted in directing the scenes, providing feedback so the students could improve their presentation.
These scenes from “Macbeth” pose the challenge of capturing the hysteria and panic of both armies as they prepare for their final encounter. The roles of Macbeth and Macduff are portrayed by different actors throughout the play, allowing everyone to try their hands at these desirable parts.
“It was really fun because I got to meet new people and see their different methods of acting,” Raquel said.
On Nov. 16 all groups from across California will gather at the Mondavi Center at UC Davis for their first chance to rehearse the play, after which they will perform “Macbeth” on the same day.
Morledge says she plans to perform scenes from “Hamlet” and more from “Macbeth.”
“The whole purpose behind this approach is to keep Shakespeare from being simply an antiquated text on a page,” Morledge said. “I’m hoping for [the students] to get out of it an opportunity to inhabit Shakespeare.”