Freshmen experience the Shakespearience


Jennifer Davis

Students from Clark joined hundreds of other high schoolers at the Alex Theatre for Shakesperience.

“The first time I read Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth by myself, I couldn’t understand all the details,” said freshman Nanor Asadourian, “but seeing the play live helped me understand the settings and the actions.” On Jan. 21, Asadourian, along with almost 270 freshmen, attended the Shakespearience at the Alex Theater in Glendale. The Shakespearience is a program of scenes from five of Shakespeare’s notable plays: Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tragedy of Macbeth, The Tragedy of Hamlet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

English teacher Carol Pettegrew helped organize the freshmen class field trip to serve as a reinforcement or introduction to Shakespeare’s works. “Since all freshmen read Shakespeare in their English class, we thought that a field trip would be a nice addition to the 9th grade experience,” she said. English teacher Narine Tatevosian said that she hoped the experience would lessen students’ preconceived anxiety and fear of Shakespearean language.

Although the program used Shakespearean language, parts were simplified and altered for comedic purposes or to allow the audience to fully comprehend the situation. Also, specific parts of the plays were chosen to be staged for educational value aimed towards students.

“I didn’t really know much about Shakespeare,” said freshman Claire Garcia, “but they modernized it in a way that made it easier for me to understand. Seeing actors in person made the play feel more alive.” Likewise, freshman Demetrio Rebollo also enjoyed the actors’ stage presence. “The actors were professional and didn’t seem to mind when they had to switch roles in different plays. They memorized their lines and really showed emotion.”

Although the program featured five different plays, it was staged in a way that made it appear like a single performance. Freshman Alexander Luke, who attended the Shakespearience three years ago, said, “I think the program then was better. This time, it dragged out and they cut out some of the better plays short.”

Tatevosian said she also felt that some scenes lacked in-depth explanations and background information. Luckily, she observed some students explain the play’s sequence and character roles to those seated around them, especially during A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

After the program, the students returned to school and reflected on their experience. “I think future freshman should be able to go on this field trip, too.” Luke said. “But next time with closer seats, so everyone would be able to focus and keep up with everything that happens in the play.”