For the past three months, the eighth grade class explored Shakespeare’s themes of power, popularity, fame, and crises of integrity. If these themes sound a lot like what happens in middle school, you’re not wrong. Through their one-act festival featuring plays inspired by Macbeth, the class of 2018 got the chance to wrestle with these dynamics through the magic of the theater, rather than in their own lives. They stepped into characters that were both deeply relatable and extremely far-fetched, choreographed cheer after cheer, dance after dance, and arranged lyrics and costumes to pull it all together.
Macbeth: A Musical Comedy sets the scene for us, laying out the dramatic arc of the Scottish play through Ms. Jenny’s favorite form of theater: a series of adapted pop songs, original choreography, and outrageous comedic dialogue. In Double Double, three witches, who have been trapped in the mortal realm since Shakespeare first wrote the Scottish play, decide that getting a student to quit her new high school’s production of Macbeth is the way to break the curse. Finally, in Miss Beth, a high school student is surrounded by some people who want her to be named captain of the cheerleading squad, a quintessential symbol of high school status, and some who want to compete with her for power.
This year’s eighth graders brought many skills and talents to the process of putting these shows together. Not only can they sing, dance, and create characters, but they can also choreograph, design costumes, write light cues, collectively solve problems at the drop of a hat, and support one another through long and tiring days inside the Broadway Performance Hall. They were so mighty in their collective vision and power that we directors hardly had to do anything other than sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.