Sophomores Dive Deep into Macbeth with Quintessence Theatre Partnership

Sophomores Dive Deep into Macbeth with Quintessence Theatre Partnership

As part of a unique partnership with Quintessence Theatre in Mt. Airy, 10th graders embarked on a deep dive into Shakespeare's Macbeth, both on the page and the stage. This partnership, which began in 2021, emphasizes the value of performing, and not just reading, Shakespeare.

This year’s partnership with Quintessence kicked off with a visit from its education director, Adam Pelta-Pauls, who led each class through a workshop on the powerful role of verse in Shakespearean productions. Students were interested to learn that irregularities in iambic pentameter, such as long pauses or extra beats in a line, provide stage direction. The 10th graders, whose first major assignment involved memorizing and performing a monologue from the play, will soon direct a filmed performance of a scene.

On March 19, the students traveled to see the performance, which features an all-male cast, directed by artistic director and Quintessence founder Alex Burns (pictured here). During a lunchtime lecture at SCH the following day, Burns discussed with the students his directorial vision for the performance and offered practical advice for the students’ upcoming filmed performances. He pointed out that Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most visually rich plays; film, in particular, offers rich opportunities for students to use editing and special effects to explore that imagery. He asked the students to think about what they could do with Macbeth’s great question, "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red."

“This week, students have been busy filming their dramatic interpretations,” says English teacher Jenny Gellhorn. “We’re all eager to see what they produce and to learn which Shakespeare play Quintessence will produce next spring when the partnership resumes again!”

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