CHS Shakespeare Fest holds a torch to playwright’s ‘fierce’ women

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Columbia High School’s 15th annual Shakespeare Festival, held Friday, April 28, followed the them “The Women of Shakespeare.” Quoting “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” — “And though she be but little, she is fierce” — the event recognize the often overlooked female characters of the canon.

Sixteen of Shakespeare’s plays were represented, including favorites like “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” but also featured some lesser known plays such as “Coriolanus and “The Comedy of Errors.” The SOMS Shakespeare Club went for a very deep cut and brought Joan of Arc from “Henry VI, Part 1” to the festival for the first time. Many performances were traditional scenes in Elizabethan garb; however, performances of “Voodoo Macbeth” and a step team routine inspired by “Othello” added a more modern flare to the day. Student emcees led the festivities by sprinkling video clips, trivia and contests in between the scenes.

After 15 years, the festival has many traditions. Contests such as “Shakespeare or Hip Hop” and “Shakespeare or Batman” were a hit. All performers received a T-shirt featuring this year’s winning student-designed logo along with a BardBar. And of course the school held the annual balloon party on the morning of the festival; dozens of students arrived at school at 6 a.m. in order to blow up 300 balloons while blaring music and running their lines for their scenes. The Shakespeare Festival takes place each April and is open to the public.

Photos Courtesy of Steve MacPherson