(Posted 3:30 a.m., June 1)
classes tackle difficult material with gusto
By Fred Sherwin
played by Savannah Tulloch, gives orders to her servant Maria, played by
Margaret Sherwin, during the OYP Junior Shakespeare production of the 'Twelfth
Night'. Fred Sherwin/Photo
In the world
of amateur theatre, doing a Shakespeare play, any Shakespeare play, is incredibly
difficult, primarily due to the demands it places on the actors to memorize
lengthy monologues and soliloquies and deliver them without fault.
And because there
isn't an incredible amount of action in most Shakespearean plays, the acting
is all in the delivery. You can't rush through Shakespeare. Every word of
every sentence has to be enunciated properly and clearly. If not, you can
lose your audience faster than it takes to exit stage left.
The Orleans Young
Players Theatre School presented a Shakespearean double bill on Sunday featuring
Twelfth Night by the Junior Shakespeare class and The Merchant
of Venice by the school's senior thespians.
junior production was rough in spots, especially during the afternoon performance,
they managed quite well considering very few of them have ever been exposed
While a couple
of the young actors were guilty of speeding through their lines and failing
to properly enunciate their lines, a couple of the performances stood out.
In particular, Kasey Kirkup was superb as Viola, especially during her opening
scene with Savannah Tulloch who played Olivia, and Margaret Sherwin who
played Olivia's servant Maria, and Kaera Griffin did a great job as Sir
As stated earlier,
the entire cast did a much better job in the evening performance than they
did in the matinee. The problem is that Twelfe Night is difficult
to follow at the best of times. The storyline with its interwoven sub-plots
and themes of cross-dressing and mistaken identity, can be entirely confusing
unless you're familiar with the material. It also doesn't help if you have
two or three different actors playing the same character, as was the case
in the OYP production.
Aris Penny, Zachary
Wood and Phlox Todd all played the love sick Malvolio at various times during
the play and Griffin shared the role of Sir Toby Belch with Sarrah Anderson.
The rest of the cast included Adriana Baker who played the court jester
Feste, Ryan Griffith who played Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Grace Mayhew who
shared the role of Viola with Kirkup.
While the junior
production was had it's issues, the only issue I had with the senior production
of "The Merchant of Venice" was that it was too short. The entire
cast was terrific. Even sitting at the back of the theatre, I could hear
every word and was able to follow along with ease despite the use of olde
performance as the vengeful and dastardly Shylocke was especially powerful
as was Danny Bettencourt who played Bassanio. The rest of the cast included
Cristina Wood as Anthonia; Celeste Tooker who did double duty as Solania
and the Duke; Jessica Armstrong who played Gratiana and Salarina; and Kelsae
Harding who was especially busy as Portia, Tuball, Nerissa and Gratiana.
It was easy to
tell that he play was not the cast's frist exposure to Shakespeare. In fact,
a number of them are graduates of the the junior class. Both classes are
currently being taught by Will Somers who selected the scripts from Shakespeare's
First Folio which contains 36 of the English playwright's works written
in the English dialect of the day and published seven years after his death.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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