On October 15, 2019, the North Hollywood HGM (Highly Gifted Magnet) freshman class went on a field trip to Shakespeare’s The Tragedie of Macbeth: An Immersive Experience! The interactive experience was hosted by The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles (SCLA). The event was practically a haunted house, as students walked through different scenes of the play, each one with its own small jump scares. This experience turned out to be one of the most interactive, enjoyable field trips that I have ever been on, because I was able to not only miss class, but the trip was located in a haunted house!
Although this year was only the second time the play was hosted, SCLA has a long history. In 1986, the first Summer Festival was held, which included performances of Twelfth Night. At the time, the audience was only friends, a small amount of local Shakespeare fans, and homeless residents of the area.
To everyone’s surprise, the homeless became very involved in the play, even acting as hosts as they ushered people to their seats, handed out programs, answered questions, and thanked everyone for coming. Later, founder Ben Donenberg, created the Food for Thought admission policy, requesting that the audience donate food to the homeless to gain admission, rather than paying for a ticket. According to SCLA, they permanently moved into its Downtown headquarters in January 2000 and “has been a national leader and innovator in the field of arts
and human services.”
In the SCLA’s production of The Tragedie of Macbeth, only nine actors perform all 27 roles of the play, as well as guide the audience through different scenes, from the Witches Heath, down the haunted hallways of Macbeth’s castle, and to the Macduff family’s peaceful home. The audience even gets to visit the “double trouble” witches in their lair, brewing potions in their cauldron, and ultimately watch in awe as a battle between good and evil unfolds before their eyes.
Before going to the play, many students worried that they wouldn’t be able to understand the Old English style actors talked in. However, all these doubts were eased, and everyone ended up understanding what was happening, thanks to the actors’ vigilant and passionate acting. The actors of the play were all magnificent and worked together to make sure that the young audience could understand what was happening and what they were saying.
This production managed to intertwine education and entertainment into one harmonious package. It not only let everyone have fun, as some students were selected to take part in one scene of the play, but also taught us the damaging physical and psychological effects of political ambition. This field trip was, by far, one of the most memorable ones which I have been on, and I am so grateful that we received the opportunity to go on a spectacular outing like this.
Sabrina Mo, Grade 9
North Hollywood Highly Gifted Magnet High School