North Salem High School drama department to present The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)
Ava Rossi, a North Salem High School senior, knows that a lot of people consider the works of William Shakespeare to be difficult to understand. Because of this perception, Rossi knows that a lot of people simply don’t want to bother with Shakespeare. Still, Rossi wants her fellow students and North Salem residents to give this Shakespeare--the play that she and her peers in the NSHS Drama Club are putting on this weekend--a chance. She’s confident that if they do, they will like what they see. In fact, she insists, they’ll even laugh.
From Friday, December 3 through Sunday, December 5, the North Salem High School Drama Club will perform The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), a play written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield. The play is a parody of Shakespeare’s work, condensing the Bard’s plays into fast-paced vignettes filled with hilarious absurdities.
At a recent rehearsal, the cast practiced scenes that felt both classically Shakespearean and also completely irreverent. “A little faster, Jake, you gotta come barreling in,” Drama club director and NSHS English teacher Jen Molloy instructed 10th grader Jake Scott, prodding him to use his body language to up the satirical comedy of the scene in which Romeo discovers Juliet (played by 10th grader Alexia Zamora) post-poisoning. Later, two cast members practiced a scene from Macbeth in which Macduff beheads Macbeth and then knocks the severed head into the audience using a golf club.
The decision to perform this particular play was a strategic one. Molloy said that, apart from her love of Shakespeare, she felt that The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) was an ideal choice for this moment. “We wanted to pick a small, manageable show this year because of COVID,” Molloy said. “This kept it to a small cast and one set, plus North Salem high school students typically study tragedies, so they know Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet and Othello.”
The show’s cast agreed that having studied Shakespeare in school helped them as they prepared for this play. Senior Delia Ciamei said that her AP Literature class is studying Hamlet this year. Rossi added that what she learned in class about Gertrude she’s been able to pour into her role in the show.
The cast has been working since late September to memorize lines and deliver their performances. The show presents lots of opportunities for improvisation, a new challenge for many of the actors but one they say they appreciate, as it has forced them to explore their creative sides.
“I just like being able to express myself on stage and open myself up to new ideas,” said senior Dmitri Krmic. “To open up that creativity that you have as a person and project some other personality is wonderful. It’s an art form.” Ciamei agreed, saying that joining Drama Club has enhanced her creativity. “I had to learn how to interpret the characters and their lines, and how to deliver them to the audience,” Ciamei said.
For Krmic, this weekend’s performances represent the culmination of his high school acting career. “It’s my last year and this is the play I go out with, and how I end. It gives me something to remember, and I know that I need to make my mark on this.”
- Friday, December 3: 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, December 4: 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, December 5: 2:00 p.m.
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