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Victoria East makes Shakespearean debut

Camille Doty

By Camille Doty
Oct. 11, 2011 at 5:11 a.m.

Titania, queen of the fairies, played by Leah Crockett, 17, lays in her flower bed, watching mortals in love. "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by William Shakespeare, is currently in rehearsal at Victoria East High School.

Tyler Conrad will experience many "firsts" this weekend by making his theater and Shakespearean debut on Saturday.

The 16-year-old junior said the acting bug just bit him recently, but he's learned a valuable lesson early.

"I put myself into the character I play," he said.

Tyler will play Nick Bottom/Pyramus in the Victoria East High School production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." This will be the school's first attempt at Shakespeare in theater.

Tyler's character is transformed into a donkey, hence the name "Bottom." While Tyler noted he and his comedic character strive for perfection, He made one clear distinction between them.

"He thinks he can do everything by himself, but I don't," Tyler said, adding it's important to work with a team.

Tyler is one of 30 students taking part in the production. Students began rehearsals the first week in September.

The play is based in Athens, Greece, and contains several integral characters. There are two sets of complicated lovers, "Hermia and Lysander" and "Helena and Demetrius," as well as "Bottom," who is the butt of everyone's jokes. As the fairies cast their spells, nothing appears as it should.

Mandy Heinold said Shakespeare is such a beloved playwright because he wrote for the masses. Centuries later, his messages still resonate with people because the themes are universal.

"Love makes us all crazy," Heinold said.

Heinold, who is the play's director, said the production was chosen based on a design competition with the University Interscholastic League.

"We're going to spend so much time on it," she said. "Let's just do it."

The cost of production comes out of the school's theater budget. Admission is free to public, but donations will be accepted at the door.

Learning Shakespeare presented it's own challenges, Heinold said. However, getting into character has its privileges.

"I think they understand the language better when they can act it out," she said.

Samantha Wiles, said the speech and word patterns are different. To get into character, she said that she practices close to five hours every day.

"You have to not over-think it, you want it to be smooth," she said.

Samantha plays the role of Hermia, and one characteristic stands out. "When she finds love, she's not afraid to do what it takes to keep it."

The 17-year-old senior said being the president of her speech and debate club has helped her to develop confidence in front of audience.

"You don't worry so much about what other people think," she said. "You just give it your best."



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