Wapakoneta High School seniors work with two actors from the Cleveland Great Lakes Theater Festival this week during their English class.
Books are great for academic study, and many schools have focused on certain classics such as “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville and “Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, just to name a couple.
However, sometimes the creator’s heart and feeling can be lost in the translation on pages.
Two actors from the Cleveland Great Lakes Theater Festival, Missy Crow and Andrew Gombas, helped Wapakoneta High School students this week gain some of the emotion that goes into a work. The pair are working with the students this week as they study Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Macbeth, considered one of Shakespeare’s darkest and most powerful tragedies and set in Scotland, dramatizes the corroding psychological and political effects produced when its protagonist, the Scottish lord Macbeth, chooses evil as the way to fulfill his ambition for power.
Crow and Gombas, who travel to a different school each week as part of the theater’s Artist and Residency program, help high school students learn more about the work they are studying through acting. Macbeth is being studied currently by Mrs. Linda Temple’s English class.
“It is a great program,” Crum said. “It gives them some vision on the work that they are studying.”
Gombas said he feels the students get a better appreciation for the work when they act it out, especially when it comes to Shakespeare.
“Shakespeare is very difficult to read,” Gombas said. “Sometimes to get it you have to act it out also. The students get to participate in it physically. All of the students become witches and learn to sword fight.”
Crum said the play gives the students a perfect chance to relate on the story of the play and how in reflects their actual lives.
“It is a classic,” Crum said. “It was written over 400 years ago and it is still relevant today. We still face the same temptations. That is what is human about the plays.”
Each town they travel to, the pair stay in a sponsor home while they are here.
Crum is staying with Todd Crow and his family, and Gombas is staying with Greg Myers.
“I had forgotten what it was like to sit down at a table as a family for supper,” Crum said. “They invited me in and have treated me like family. And it is nice having a home-cooked meal.”
“It has been a big benefit staying with Greg Myers,” Gombas said. “Everyone has been so generous with everything. And I have learned a lot about the history of the area.”
Both felt there are many other things the students can learn from the program as well.
“Personally, what I find important is the fact that a lot of these kids are being exposed to theater and acting for the first time,” Gombas said. “A lot of them realize they really like it or they are really good at it. That is my favorite part, seeing someone take interest in it.”
Crum said the participation of the students also is very educational sand rewarding.
“Normally high school students are being told what to do,” Crum said. “I think it is important for the ownership they take on. They get the chance to open up and express what they are feeling. They are choosing what they want to do. They are forced to risk a little more and it helps them to grow up a little.”