PUBLISHED: 11:15 AM on Wednesday, March 1, 2006
'Macbeth' puts students on the stage
Costumes, scenery, props and characters are just part of the learning experience students at Johnson Youth Center in Juneau have gained while studying William Shakespeare's "Macbeth."

Teacher Jo Dahl, who has a degree in theater and has been in 35 productions, said the class read the play as part of their literature curriculum and later decided to gets students involved in a production. She said all female rolls were cut, with the exception of Lady Macbeth.

The boy who plays the female character said he volunteered because he wants to challenge his acting ability and hopes to someday be a comedic actor.

Dahl said that while there have been small shows at the center, this is the first production where every student involved was needed for the performance.

"This is the first production we've done where you depend on them for their part. We've done things before where if someone couldn't be there that day, it would be fine," Dahl said.

"This is something very different from the normal school routine. It stretched the boundaries academically."

The boys performed the play twice on Friday, Feb. 24, for family members, volunteers and supporters.

Boys in the play said they have enjoyed quoting lines from "Macbeth." They designed the set and made props and costumes for the show.

Gaile Haynes, who has volunteered at JYC for about 20 years, said she taught the play to teach about history and later decided the production would be beneficial for students to understand the significance Shakespeare.

"I thought she was nuts, but we kept inching forward inch by inch," Dahl said.

Haynes also taught a sword fighting scene using her past fencing experience. The swords were made from cardboard and aluminum foil to make them completely safe, Haynes said.

"They are beginning to see (Shakespeare) as something of importance," Haynes said. "They're going to carry this with them forever, and we've had wonderful behavior from them. These are wonderful kids. It's wonderful to be working with them and see things light up for them."