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Shakespeare entertains 343 students in Zompa Auditorium

Although it’s the dead of winter, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival brought “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to Madison on Jan. 18.

Patty Collier, English teacher at Discovery Middle School, has taken students to ASF in Montgomery for seven years. Collier’s class had read “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and she wanted her students to see the play but it was sold out.

Considering Collier’s past support, ASF director Greta Lambert agreed to the trip, their first visit to North Alabama.

Instead of $50 for the Montgomery trip, Discovery students paid $5 for the show (no one was excluded). Collier paid $800 to ASF and for busing 263 students to Zompa Auditorium at Bob Jones High School.

“Our students were spellbound and balled in laughter,” Collier said. Some students had never attended a play.

“The play was fantastic. The actors and actresses were awesome,” student Devan Harris said. Rashaud Blackburn found the production “extravagant. I loved seeing an actual performance from such great actors and actresses.”

Tyler Brown said the play was much better than he expected. Krissy Decker was surprised that six characters played all the roles.

The teenagers related to “the ‘drama’ of liking someone who doesn’t like them … but likes their friend, Collier said. These freshmen are building “an Elizabethan vocabulary” to study tragedies in high school.

Bob Jones dramatists and teachers Mary Davis and Dwayne Craft assisted the ASF cast. “Since they’re a traveling show, ASF was self-reliant and prepared,” Davis said. “We had hung a forest drop for our upcoming production of ‘The Wizard of Oz.'”

After the play, ASF conducted two workshops for 80 Bob Jones students. “The workshops were awesome,” Davis said. “ASF actors allowed for question-and-answer time, which was great because many upper-level theatre students are considering theatre as a college major.”

Bob Jones students heard from professionals “who have made it,” Davis said.

ASF raved about Zompa Auditorium and “praised Bob Jones students for their theater knowledge and Discovery ninth-graders for their outstanding behavior,” Collier said.

“These (experiences) are the type of educational opportunities our students receive that make Madison City Schools the best,” Collier said.

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