By Anna Dowling, Staff Writer
Over the past three months, nine UMF students have taken on the difficult task of putting on the show, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. This week the cast faced the moment of truth as they encountered the stage for the first time.
The play was originally written in the 1980’s and includes many pop culture references from that generation. As the play gets reenacted however, the original writers encourage directors to update the script and make it funny for the new generation. Junior Tucker Atwood had the challenging task of directing and adapting the play to fit UMF and 2016. “We threw in some 2016 humor, some UMF humor,” said Atwood, “It’s got that improv feel to it, but it’s all planned ahead of time.”
In the 97 minute show, the audience will laugh until they cry and be entertained by 37 of William Shakespeare’s shows. “We’re attempting a feat that is impossible, but we’re going to do it. Everything is condensed, it’s really, really shortened, exaggerated, jokes thrown in that obviously weren’t in the originals,” Atwood adds with a chuckle, “At one point we take 16 shows, put them all together and call it a lump of hilarity.”
Aside from Atwood there are two co-directors, Aaron Verrill and Zack Peercy, and six actors. On top of the actors they have a stage manager, assistant stage manager, costume designer, the complete works assistant, and someone in charge of props.
“We can’t wait to put this cavalcade of craziness out into the world. People won’t be laughing at us, they’ll be laughing with us,” said actor Keith Clark via e-mail, “This is going to be a unique experience even for those who have seen another production before.”
For freshman Chloe Hoecker, the show has been more than just a play, but has served as a way to meet new people. “My favorite part of the show has been getting to know my cast mates more and reveling in their hilarity,” Hoecker said via e-mail.
To make the experience even better, Atwood plans on having the performances at the amphitheater next to Roberts. “I want it to be the Shakespeare in the park style,” said Atwood. If the weather chooses not to cooperate with the dates of the show, the back-up locations will either be in Lincoln Auditorium or Nordica Auditorium.
The outdoor location means that there won’t be a set, sound, lights, or a place to change costumes. “The costume changes are part of what makes it funny because there are so many different characters from so many different shows,” said Atwood. The six actors will have their base costume and then for every other character they will put on a hat or a shirt, but it all happens in front of the audience.
The only piece of equipment the actors use is a box full of props and costumes. Everything is used to create comedy, even the box. Atwood smiled when he said, “In Hamlet there’s a puppet scene and we look in the prop box for these puppets, but they’re not there so Hamlet takes me and Aaron and Peercy like we’re the puppets.”
Students will be excited to know that there is no cost of admission for the show. Instead, the group has decided to put donation boxes out. The first $200 they raise will reimburse the honors department, who paid for the rights of the show, and anything else will be given to Alpha Psi Omega (APO).
The show kicked off its showings last weekend on April 14. There were two more shows on April 16 and 17 and the final show will be held on April 23 at 2:00PM. The last show will kick off arts week at UMF, where there will be different artistic presentations throughout the week.