Garrison School eighth graders presented "Macbeth" set in the Prohibition era. (Photo courtesy of Garrison School)
Garrison School eighth graders presented ”Macbeth” set in the Prohibition era. (Photo courtesy of Garrison School)

On March 7, the Garrison School eighth grade class presented William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Macbeth tells the story of the bloody rise and ultimate fall of the eponymous Scottish king. It is often called simply the Scottish Play because of an old actors’ superstition that tragedy will befall anyone who speaks its name in a theater.

Under the direction of English teacher Ian Berger, the entire class of 30 eighth-grade students rehearsed the play for more than two months.

“The Scottish Play is one of Shakespeare’s most popular,” Berger said, mindful of the superstition. “It is also one of the most challenging for students to stage, because there are more and longer speaking parts than in almost any of the Bard’s other works. It was gratifying to watch the class devote themselves to learning the lines and getting the choreography of the fight scenes just right,” Berger said.

This production of Macbeth was set in the 1920s Prohibition era replete with gangsters, flappers and jazz music. Berger explained that this era provided an excellent backdrop for the many assassinations and alliance changes in Shakespeare’s play.

“The eighth graders are also studying the 1920s in social studies and recently wrote letters to historic figures from that time period,” remarked Garrison School Principal Stephanie Impellittiere. “Anytime our educators can integrate more than one discipline, it really helps to engage students and promote knowledge retention. We are proud of all our student thespians who brought the story of Macbeth and the history of that era alive with their performances.”

Berger acknowledged faculty, community volunteers and students, and extended thanks to Principal Impellittiere, Dick Timmons, art teacher Coulter Young who designed scenery, acting coach Alyssa Borg, student teacher Samantha Ruffen who choreographed dancing, Guidance Counselor Michael Williams for lighting design, and parents Chrissy Colasurdo, MJ Martin and Julie Heckert for costume supervision.

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