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Thespians dive back into Shakespeare



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Kara Calvert, who plays Antonio, shows off one of the masks for the masquerade scene. Photo submitted. (click for larger version)
September 12, 2012 - Olivia Shumaker

Review Staff Writer

The ado is hardly for nothing when it comes to the Lake Orion High School Thespian Society's summer production of Much Ado About Nothing.

Showing on Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. and Sept. 16 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Wildwood Pavilion, the production is part of a continuing tradition of summer Shakespeare for the Thespians.

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"It's like a tight, close-knit family that gets to bond every day, and it's lovely," said senior Emily Franchy, who plays Beatrice.

Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy, focused around the characters Beatrice and Benedick, both of whom have sworn against the opposite sex and whose friends decide to make them fall in love with each other. Meanwhile, their friends, Hero and Claudio, have fallen in love with each other and are driven apart by Don John, who has never gotten along with Claudio. The play covers a broad range of themes from romantic to comedic to tragic and runs the gamut of characters that are represented.

"We cover the feminist one, we cover the kind of naughty one, the drunk, the town idiot, we cover the villains," said senior director Alanah Harper Brecht.

Auditions for the show were held before school got out last year, with the thespians recruiting incoming freshmen via their drama teachers. Rehearsals first started in mid-July, three times a week every week. Meetings ran through everything from memorization of lines to dance choreography to blocking, with costuming coming later. As the entire production is student run, the atmosphere is very different from in-school plays. At a rehearsal, a cast member can try something new among their peers and the director may decide to leave it in the performance.

"It really helps with your creativity as an actor," said Maggie Pote, a sophomore who plays Ursula.

All of the participating Thespians agree that for those just coming into the Thespian Society or just trying out plays for the first time, the summer production is an excellent place to start. The pressure of performing in front of an adult is absent, and everyone has a common interest to bond over, allowing Thespians to make new friends or freshman Thespians to come into the high school with a group of friends. "No one emerges from theater unchanged," said Jacob Buchholz, a senior playing Benedick, and none of the Thespians regret giving up time in the summer to be a part of the show.

"Rehearsal in this is like waking up, taking a shower, and then getting in the car to go see my family," said Katlyn Workman, a junior who plays Don John.

To see the result of the Thespians' hard work, stop by Wildwood Pavilion in Orion Township Civic Center Park. Visitors are advised to bring their own seating (i.e. a chair or blanket) and bug spray, along with a hearty love of Shakespeare.

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