TROY — The Troy High School drama department will present “Shakespeare in Love” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20, at the high school.
The play tells the story of a young Will Shakespeare, who is plagued by writer’s block. He needs some inspiration for the play he hopes will launch him into stardom: “Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter.” He finds his muse in Viola, the Earl’s daughter, who wants one unattainable thing … to be an actor.
This is the first time any theater company in Ohio, professional or student, will be performing “Shakespeare in Love.” Troy High School also will become just the second high school in the nation to perform the play.
The play is based on the Academy Award-winning film starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes, which was adapted from the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard. It was adapted for stage by Lee Hall, with music by Paddy Cunneen.
According to drama program director Irene Imboden, the play has also been adapted specifically for the high school stage.
“They took out some of the adult content,” she said. “It’s the same length, but some of the humor can be a little bawdy, so they just tamed that down a little bit in the high school edition.”
Imboden said there are a few taxing aspects with regard to this particular play’s material.
“The most challenging thing about this play is most of the scenes take place in just sort of contemporary English, not slang, but how we would speak today,” she said “However, they do have to switch into what we would call Shakespearean language, plus the script is about 35 pages longer than the play we did last year. So the students have to memorize all of that language, and there are more costume changes, the set is bigger, there are more people on stage, more entrances and exits, five dances, three fights, and a lot of romance.”
Senior Colleen Watkins, 18, will play the nurse in this weekend’s play. Watkins said she’s been involved in the drama program each year of high school.
“Last year, for our one act, we did ‘Canst Thou Hearest Thee Now?’ It was a Shakespearean-type play, but it was more modern with a story-line of iPhone and Android clashing,” Watkins said. “This is the first time I’ve been part of an actual Shakespeare play. It’s different, but it’s a lot of fun.”
Watkins said her favorite part about acting is working with others and getting to see roles come to life.
“I really like how a lot of the other cast members turn the characters into who they’re supposed to be or what they imagine they’re supposed to be” she said. “What Mrs. Imboden has taught us to do is embody that person and make it our own.”
Junior Victoria Glover, 16, will play Fennyman this weekend and has also participated in drama club throughout her time at THS.
The daughter of Carrie and Kevin Glover, Victoria is the latest of the family’s three generations of participants in Troy High School’s Thespian Troupe 1553.
“Both of my parents were in drama when they were younger and so was my grandfather and grandmother,” Victoria said. “We’re the only three-generation thespians in the nation.”
Victoria said the drama club has long talked about performing a Shakespeare play, and she is looking forward to playing her role.
“This is my first legit Shakespeare play; it’s so interesting,” she said. “I don’t see myself as a Shakespeare person, but I really love my part. It’s so fun, I just get to yell at people the whole time, and I’m not the type of person that yells a lot but I think I play it well.”
Troy High School’s company includes Brandon Allen (as Ned Allyn), Colleen Watkins (Nurse), Loretta Ansley (Frees), P.J. Glover (Tilney), Griffin Johnson (Wessex), Angie Rice (Viola/Thomas Kent), Maggie Snee (Queen Elizabeth I), AnnMarie Palombi (Sam), Erin Bruce (Richard Burbage), Kayly Gagel (Henslowe), Gabe Wolf (John Webster), Abigail Van Hook (Robin), Victoria Glover (Fennyman), James Craft (Kit Marlowe), Savannah Swanson (Adam), Conner Watkins (Ralph), Amanda Goodwin (Wabash), Jessica Loy (Nol), Gabriel Shelton (Will Shakespeare) and Ollie Hampshire (Spot).
The crew includes Allison Barnthouse (stage manager), Victoria Van Hook (assistant stage manager), David Vance (sound), Reyna Bonneet (sound), Emily Maloney (lights), Mackenzie Perkins (stage crew), Ariana Summer (stage crew), Noah Palombi (stage crew), Camille Scribner (stage crew) and Bethany Krimm (stage crew/props).