Earlier this month I saw a remarkable production staged in the James Earl Jones Theater at PDS: the Shakespeare Central Study Elective performance of Macbeth. The players from grades 7-12 had chosen this from a variety of electives and spent a part of each week in the fall delving into the text and preparing their production. This is an annual Fall elective which means that the senior who played the lead was in her sixth Shakespearian role. That means six plays known from the inside out as scripts to be acted as well as texts to be read.

The production was remarkable for the cast’s thorough comprehension of the nuance and cadence of the language. A clever, versatile set allowed for some gruesome and eerie special effects and the costumes were mostly simple yet evocative. But, as with any good Shakespeare production, the star was the language. These players knew their Shakespeare. The result was a most satisfying theatrical experience. The plot moved forward smoothly, the stage business was effective, and the well-spoken words made for an impressive evening.

Any actor playing Macbeth has a mighty task. As the noble warrior the Thane of Glamis he starts on a high pitch and must the carry the audience in a downward hellish spiral as murderer and tyrant. In his final defiance in the face of impossible odds and betrayal he regains a little of his former luster. The language is complex, dense with imagery and fraught with torment. With the support of the cast and crew, Kendra ‘nailed it”.

Congratulations to all those involved in this production – cast, crew, production staff, directors, students and teachers.

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