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Shakespeare comes to M-PHS

Marysville-Pilchuck High School senior Kristen George, left, and junior Zach Wells are among the nine students presenting plays as diverse as “Julius Caesar” and “Two Gentlemen of Verona” as part of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).” - Kirk Boxleitner
Marysville-Pilchuck High School senior Kristen George, left, and junior Zach Wells are among the nine students presenting plays as diverse as “Julius Caesar” and “Two Gentlemen of Verona” as part of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).”
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Compacting all the plays of one of the most acclaimed writers in history into a total running time of less than two hours would be a challenge for any company, much less one made of up of nine students, but if there’s one thing that the actors of the Marysville-Pilchuck High School POC Drama Club are not short on, it’s energy.

“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)” kicked off with evening performances in the M-PHS auditorium on Nov. 3, 4 and 5, and continues its run on Nov. 10, 11 and 12, starting at 7:30 p.m. on these days. The first thing that the cast agreed upon was how rigorous its pacing has been, even in rehearsals.

“The movement is just so fast,” said senior Kristen George.

“Timing is everything,” said sophomore Kiera Sorensen.

In spite of the demanding nature of the play — whose highlights include a “Romeo and Juliet’ parody, “Titus Andronicus” presented as a cooking show, “Othello” as a rap, “a perfectly Scottish ‘Macbeth,’” in the words of director Roy Klementsen, and at least three versions of “Hamlet” — cast members also echoed the sentiment that the close working relationships they’ve developed during the production have made that hard work worthwhile.

“We’ve all bonded and gotten along really well,” Sorensen said.

“We’re a dysfunctional family,” laughed junior Zach Wells. “We joke around and get hyper.”

Cast members laughed again as they admitted that they literally had too many favorite moments to choose between in this comic condensation of Shakespeare’s 38 plays, and senior Carly Wilson cited this variety as a strength, in and of itself, of their production.

“We can go from playing big guys to soft, sweet little girls,” Wilson said. “We each have so many different parts.”

The audience will also be called upon to play a part, as junior Casandra Gramstad explained that a few attendees will even be brought onstage, while the rest will be expected to make some noise during the performances.

“It should feel like a big frenzy,” said senior Mikko Juan. “It takes a lot of communication, teamwork and fast cues to keep it moving.”

“There’s usually more memorized lines in a play like this,” said freshman Sage Fairbanks. “With this production, though, we have a lot of opportunities to ad lib and improvise.”

Klementsen promised that the farce would make for some memorable nights of theatre.

“Even if you’ve never read a Shakespearian play, you’ll delight in the mayhem,” Klementsen said.

Admission will be $6 for adults and students without ASB, and $5 for students with ASB and senior citizens.

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