Julius Caesar takes Nashville

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Julius Caesar takes Nashville

Riley Belt, Staff Writer

The English department took a trip to Nashville to see Julius Caesar performed in Belmont University’s Troutt Theater on January 25. The performance was put on in celebration of the annual Nashville Shakespeare Festival as their winter production. 

The trip was organized by English teachers Ms. Mynatt, Mr. Prater, and Mr. Rogers and was offered to members of the junior and senior classes as an educational field trip to experience Shakespeare outside of the classroom study. 

“We actually knew about the National Shakespeare Festival last year. We had talked about ways in which the senior teachers, Mr. Rogers, Mr. Prater and I, could have the students experienced Shakespeare in a performance rather than in just a reading environment,” Nikki Mynatt, the senior AP English teacher, commented. 

Senior Alex Lensgraf heard about the trip 

“Mr. Prater is my English teacher, and he told us all about [the field trip]. I talked to him a little bit about it, and he thought it would be really good for me to go because he knows how much I love theatre and English,” Lensgraf explained. 

Junior Bejamin Pinzon was encouraged not only by his teacher, but also by his peers to sign up to see the performance. 

“I found out about the field trip from my friends. It was on an email I think, or an announcement, and we all decided that it would be a good idea to go,” Pinzon related. 

In addition to the trip, the students and teachers held lunch discussions leading up to the play to better understand Shakespeare’s work. 

Junior Annalise Weedman also signed up for the trip and attended the lunch meetings to read Julius Caesar. 

“We read it in class, or in like meetings on Wednesdays and stuff and talked about the play and what it meant,” Weedman prefaced. 

After a three-hour bus ride including Shakespeare trivia organized by the teachers, the students watched the futuristic retelling of Julius Caesar. Lensgraf was surprised with her newfound understanding of Shakespeare. 

“I was surprised about how easy it was to understand what was going on. I enjoyed the audience to actor interaction, kind of making us a part of the riots and the crowds and the mobs,” Lensgraf reflected. 

In addition to audience participation, the play was adapted to appeal to a modern audience with a diverse cast of actors. Weedman particularly enjoyed the gender-swapped characters. 

“They gender-swapped a lot of characters, which was really cool. For instance, Octavius was a girl, and it was pretty cool,” said Weedman. 

Many students were impressed by the actors’ performances, including Pinzon. 

“The characters were very funny, and they made it very enjoyable for a more modern show,” Pinzon described. 

After the performance, the audience was given the opportunity to ask the actors questions about the process of bringing a Shakespearian play to life as well as questions about the story and characters.  

The students and teachers agree that experiencing Shakespeare outside of the classroom improved the learning experience and made the process more engaging for students. 

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