The Montgomery Experience

Bob Jones students pose for a group picture. Credit: Mrs. Dauma

Johnathan Hampton, Writer

This past Wednesday, 185 Bob Jones students traveled to Montgomery, Alabama to enjoy a plethora of experiences. Upon their arrival, students viewed literature in action at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. “The Alabama Shakespeare Festival is a permanent facility set on several beautiful acres in Montgomery. The theater has year-round productions of both Shakespeare plays as well as more modern works. During the daytime ‘SchoolFest’ productions, school groups from Alabama can come for a discounted rate,” elaborated English teacher and field trip coordinator Robin Dauma. For the first time for many, underclassmen and upperclassmen alike watched a live performance of Shakespeare’s famed “Romeo and Juliet”. The show did not disappoint, to say the least.

“It was really cool to see how they adapted the play to kind of fit into what high schoolers and others would like to see today, and they made it more entertaining,” said Ashley Rehage, a sophomore at Bob Jones. Junior Meghan Hall rated the show “10/10” and thoroughly enjoyed how certain characters were portrayed in the play. For her, actor Billy Finn’s portrayal of Mercutio sealed the deal. “Mercutio was really hilarious,” she explained. Like Ashley, she also appreciated the simplicity of the play and “how you could understand it even if you didn’t get it word for word.”

The festival’s rendition of “Romeo and Juliet” most certainly had something to offer to nearly all students who viewed it. Junior Tyler Theakston savored the all-too-well-known portrayal of Juliet’s “Wherefore art thou” scene while fellow junior Amber Guo, though not an avid fan of Shakespeare’s love play, enjoyed “watching [the actors] swing swords at each other.” Whether they were eager aficionados or simple enjoyers of the realm of Shakespeare, this event succeeded in transforming literature into something entertaining for all viewers.

For Mrs. Dauma, this was a crucial part of both evaluating literature and applying it to one’s own life. “Watching a live, professional Shakespeare production is an invaluable experience. Exposure to the level of performance these actors are trained to give brings the plays to life like no other experience. I believe that this production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was extremely illuminating to the Bob Jones students who attended.”

In addition to the play, Bob Jones students had a picnic on the grounds of the event. Juniors, seniors, and a few sophomores then took a trip to the New Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Justice and Peace where students were immersed in the historical events surrounding slavery, incarceration, and the struggle for African American civil rights. For many, it was an enlightening experience. “We all just looked in reverence [at all the facilities had to offer],” Ashley commented, “It was really sad, [and it shows] that we gotta work towards progress. Things are definitely getting better, but it definitely could still be better.”

The museum and memorial didn’t just impact students; teachers benefited from visiting as well. “I have never been to these internationally-touted sites and was very much looking forward to visiting and leading students through these important exhibits. I was so proud of the way our students showed respect for the stories and documented incidences of slavery, lynchings, Jim Crow-era violence, as well as the modern scourge of mass incarceration,” Mrs. Dauma said.

After an entertaining yet edifying day in Montgomery Alabama, Bob Jones students and teachers returned home appreciative and with a more seasoned outlook on the life and society around them.