Macbeth resonates with Warren County high school students

What better time to see William Shakespeare’s Macbeth than the Halloween season?

High school students from the Warren area watched as ghosts, witches, prophesies and curses followed Macbeth and Lady Macbeth on stage at the Struthers Library Theatre on Monday as part of DeSalle University’s Will Power tour of Macbeth.

After the performance, 120 10th- and 11th-grade students were invited to stay for a series of workshops that took place throughout the theater with the cast and crew.

“It’s just such a great experience for them,” said Youngsville High School teacher Char Eggleston, “It’s just so hands on.”

Students were able to work their way through two of four workshops throughout the day “Toil and Trouble: Cursed Verse” helped students unpack and explore Shakespeare’s imagery; “Kings & Witches – Shakespeare’s Characters in a Vibrant World” helped students explore the world of the characters in the play by better understanding the theme of power; “The Sound and the Fury: Macbeth’s Life and Language” guided students through the plot of Macbeth by focusing on the soliloquies from the play; and in “Stage Combat: The Illusion of Violence” students learned about the safety and challenges of creating the illusion of violence performed on stage.

Brandon Meeks, who plays Macbeth, said the play is a good seasonal show with Halloween approaching and the play’s witches, curses, and violence make for “a perfect Halloween show.”

Meeks said students seem to respond to the workshops very well, especially the stage combat workshop.

Upstairs on the third floor of the theater, students in Meeks’ and Andy McCain’s stage combat workshop learn the basic safety rules and techniques to perfecting a round house punch fit for the stage.

“They respond really well, it’s always kind of a surprise actually. I’ve had students I thought were going to be problems right out of the gate…I’ve actually been quite surprised how the students that I thought were going to not get much out of the workshop actually were the ones by the end of the workshop paying a lot of attention and doing the technique really well.”

While most students enjoy the stage combat workshop, Meeks said he has also taught one of the text based workshops that help knockdown the language barrier for students.

“Those are fun because they help people look at Shakespeare’s language in a specific way and we talk about it and make it a little bit more familiar so it’s not as strange,” he said.