McNary students experience Oregon Shakespeare Festival
November 2, 2018 By:MHS Piper
By Nadia Lopez
Fifty McNary students recently got to experience live theater at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, thanks to a generous grant from OSF stemming from a three-year partnership.
Each year for the last seven years, McNary High School has gone on a trip to The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. The trip has usually been arranged by Mr. Ryan Somerville, who began the yearly trip when he taught senior AVID.
Students visited the festival in Ashland the weekend of September 29-30. This year, most of the students on the trip were either in the AVID program, the Latino Club, or were very involved with the drama department. The cost of the trip was greatly reduced this year for students, thanks to the grant from OSF.
Students on the trip saw Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost, and an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility at the festival. They also participated in an acting workshop taught by David Thompson, a Shakespeare actor and educator who works for the Educational outreach department of the festival.
“I think the biggest thing is for the groups to leave with the sense that Shakespeare is fun. Also with an understanding that he is writing about us today, even though it’s 400 years old, only the outside look of our lives have changed. That deep down inside the passion, loves, needs, and desires of humans haven’t changed in that 400 years,” Thompson said.
“I am an actor. I started my career in the main stage company and I still understudy sometimes in shows, but my primary job now is this education position,” Thompson said.
Students on the trip were surprised that they were actually enjoying the Shakespeare plays.
The first show the students saw was Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost in the outdoor Elizabethan Theater.
The weather was stormy the evening of the show, and lightning prompted the stage manager to break into the performance telling the actors to evacuate the stage.
Shakespeare trip member Michael Zwemke, a sophomore at McNary, said, “I’m loving the show so far, I like how the actors kept their composure during the thunder, and how they incorporated the thunder into the play. I also like how they didn’t let the weather get to them even though they were acting outside.”
Another member on the trip, Karina Paniagua, a junior at McNary, said, “It was a new experience for me to see Shakespeare. I thought it wasn’t going to be as interesting to younger students but it was.”
“I would do it again and I would definitely suggest someone who isn’t into Shakespeare to go because the shows are worth it and it will probably change the way you think about Shakespeare,” Paniagua said. “The first play was more interesting and appealing to me because I understood it more. During the first play I thought that the actors and actresses stood out more. You could tell that they had energy, passion, and love for Shakespeare.”
Junior Maria Morquecho said, “the experience was fun and I left with many more friends. I thought the second play was more entertaining and had a better story behind it.”
“Before going on the Shakespeare trip I was expecting it to be strict and hard to understand, but when I left the trip I realized how excited I was to go again next year,” Morquecho said. “Ashland itself was beautiful, small and unique. The shops were cool to look at and I found really cool stuff. The food was really good as well.”