By Katherine Heaney
The Mamaroneck Shakespeare Players performances of “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Romeo and Juliet” will take place March 8 through 13 in the Hommocks auditorium. This year marks the 42nd season for the company. Students auditioned for the shows in June and have been rehearsing since December. The casts began by rehearsing two hours a day, two days a week which has since escalated to upwards of six hours a day, six days a week.
Zachary Moore, director of both Shakespeare productions and PACE Theatre teacher, shared his reasons for choosing this year’s comedy and tragedy. “Both of these plays deal with issues that are present in the lives of young people today,” said Moore. “In ‘Romeo and Juliet’ we have young people dealing with an urge to rebel against their authority figures when they begin to realize that the ideas and philosophies they have been raised with are not in line with what they want their lives to be. The play illustrates the difficulty of breaking out of a cycle of violence, hatred and dissension between people that has been occurring for generations. It greatly reflects much of the issues we still deal with as a society. While rapturously funny ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ addresses the great consequences of slandering others. In an age when technology makes it easier and easier to bully and cut others down, this play reminds us of how damaging rumor, insults and untruths can be.”
While most students are acting in the shows, many are involved in the production crew. Crew members sort props and costumes, build and paint sets, run lights and sound or stage-manage and assistant direct. Jack Boyle ’16 has learned a lot from assistant directing “Much Ado About Nothing.” “It’s a different perspective from acting on stage,” said Boyle. “I get to walk in the director’s shoes. Mr. Moore gave me a lot of power to provide the cast feedback. Everyone has been a pleasure to work with. For my first year in Shakespeare, I couldn’t have had a better experience.”
Students in all grade levels involved in both cast and crew have enjoyed the rehearsal process and look forward to seeing the end result. “I like being with great people and seeing our shows evolve,” said Chase Thede ’18. “We are making memories.”
Although a rewarding experience, students also noted the time and effort needed to put the shows together. “You form amazing relationships while you acquire so much knowledge of Shakespeare and theatre,” said Olivia Marr ’16. “But the time management can be tough, especially the final two weeks. You need to know your lines so well that every word is instinctual, like your character is your second personality.”
Charlie Storck ’17 encourages students to join the company. “Shakespeare is a great way for people who aren’t in PACE to get involved with theater at MHS,” said Storck. “It’s a community that has allowed me to become friends with people from different grades, who I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise.” Shakespeare audition information for next year’s cast and crew will be available this spring.