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Campionites find themselves in 'Macbeth'

Published:Friday | March 18, 2016 | 12:00 AM
The cast and crew of Campion College'’s award-winning Jamaican adaptation of the William Shakespeare tragedy Macbeth take a bow after a recent performance at the school in an event dubbed Courtyard Theatre.
Christina Emman as Lady Macbeth (left) and Demitri Grant as Macbet in a scene from Campion College'’s award-winning Jamaican adaptation of the William Shakespeare tragedy Macbeth, as they performed recently in the Hopefield Avenue, St Andrew, school's courtyard.

Young thespians at Campion College have under a week to go before their tour of England. In the theatrical tradition of 'practice, practice, practice' the actors have been honing their skills in a series of performances before their tour, including participating in Courtyard Theatre at the school recently. Their objective was to give parents and well-wishers a final sample of their budding theatrical talent and prepare themselves for the footlights in the United Kingdom.

"There is so much anticipation and they are counting the days to their departure," director and drama coach, Damion Radcliffe, said.

Six months ago Campion College won the JN Shakespeare Schools Championship with their Jamaican interpretation of the Shakespeare tragedy, Macbeth, and they have used the past few weeks to refine the half-hour performance and hone their skills.

"They are not professionals, however, they are already demonstrating professional styles in their performance," Radcliffe said. "We will be rehearsing and participating in workshops with some of the masters of Jamaican theatre, and those workshops will be followed by additional rehearsals shortly before we depart for London, on March 25."


Enlightening experience


It has been an enlightening experience for the students and their coach, who underscores that the students and the school have gained real personal and educational benefits from participation in the JN Shakespeare Schools Championship.

"What I am most pleased about is the confidence that students developed during the competition, and even more so, during the past six months," Radcliffe said. "As actors they are more confident and have grasped how to use the audience's energy to deliver stronger performances," he pointed out.

Radcliffe said their major focus is now on ensuring that the use of Jamaican English is not lost on the audience in England.

He explained that leadership and teamwork have been a result of the experience for students, some of whom have directed other plays and have also been leading rehearsals with very little input from their coach.

"It was one of my dreams to see the students work independently and simply take charge and that emerged as a result of this competition," Radcliffe said.

The students confirmed their development.

"My confidence has grown and I am comfortable with serving in leadership roles," said Demitri Grant, who plays Macbeth. And for Christina Emman, who plays his cold, calculating wife Lady Macbeth, participating in the championship now makes it easier for her to play any character.

"Before, I was playing different creatures in fantasy plays, and now, I am playing complicated female characters, which has boosted my confidence. I'm not even afraid to do presentations in class anymore," she said.

"There is a lot more interest and the Drama Club, which has grown exponentially as younger students, particularly first and second formers, are joining the club, hence there is continuity," Demitri said. "And there is a lot more support when we mount performances."

"There has been so much interest in Shakespeare among the students, who before the competition would look at the script and say it's boring. But they are now able to analyse the text and interpret its meaning," he noted.

"Interpretation of the Shakespearean plays is much easier now. We are doing Julius Caesar and it's a lot easier to understand because of our participation in the competition," Demitri disclosed.