Sep 13, 2016 News
By Enid Joaquin
The play Julius Caesar was staged at the Lichas Hall in Linden last Wednesday and on Thursday, at the National Cultural Centre. The aim was to target Secondary School students who are preparing to write CXC English B next year, according to producer, Grace Chapman, an overseas based Lindener. She currently lectures at the University of Gambia.
The production received generous support from the Region Ten Department of Education, Chapman said.
“It is part of a free Theatre-in-Education (TIE) Literature programme I conducted in Linden during this 2016 (August holidays). Since Julius Caesar is a required text on the CXC English “B” 2016-2017 syllabus, we designed this TIE programme to enhance the curricula at participating schools.
“The actors, theatre management and production crew for the show were primarily fifth form students from four secondary schools in Linden —-Mackenzie High, Christianburg Secondary, New Silver City and Linden Foundation Secondary.
Chapman, who is famous for the “Green Bottle “ and “ The Will”, plays that she produced over thirty years ago in Linden, said that she was approached by Sarah Nunes, a teacher attached to the Mackenzie High School, about producing Julius Caesar.
She readily accepted and offered her services voluntarily.
The objective, Chapman said, was to help students get a better understanding of the play and so help them in their analysis.
She noted that most of the students had requested to do another CXC text “The Lion and the Jewel”, as they considered Julius Caesar too long, too hard and very boring. However, Chapman said that she was able to convince them to do the latter, as she illustrated how learning about the various characters and their lines would enhance their (students) analysis of the play.
Shakella Bentick, one of the participating students, noted that as head stage manager it was quite challenging at times. “At first it was challenging managing everybody and learning the lines and everything, but it was a very great experience, and I think it will really help us.
“It was kind of hard at first, but learning the lines has paid off, because it helped us learn more about each character,” another student confessed.
Sonia Griffith, a teacher attached to the new Silver City secondary school said that at her school the students were more focused on the Lion and the Jewel, so they were not too enthused about doing Julius Caesar.
“But I encouraged them, I told them that it would be fun learning as they would be better able to relate to the novel.
So they decided to give it a shot, which was good, and I think that it will help them greatly in the exam (CXC). I felt really good about them having this experience, because it will also help to make my job easier.”
Julius Caesar is the second theatre production for CXC students by Chapman.
The first, “Old Story Time” was produced in 2011, and like Julius Caesar was also taken to the National Cultural Centre. Both productions received rave reviews and the casts were commended by both students and teachers.
Sarah Nunes, who was instrumental in engaging Chapman for both productions had emphasized, “Plays are really written to be performed, and by having the children perform the play, it naturally enhances their learning experience and understanding and children have a lot of potential and energy, and if that potential and energy is mismanaged, we can lose them.
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