The school’s newly created Shakespeare in Theater course is putting on the school’s first drama.
MaST Community Charter School students Brendan Lash and Diana Lyga established a Shakespeare Society club last school year, and the highlight was a 30-minute performance of the comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
“Our main goal was to make Shakespeare cool for people,” Lyga said. “It’s been working. There are a lot of middle schoolers super interested.”
Last December, MaST approved a Shakespeare in Theater elective course for juniors and seniors. The teacher is Leah Beck, and 24 students are in the class. They produced an Introduction to Shakespeare day earlier this year.
The teacher and students also decided to do a drama, a first for MaST, which in the past has put on musicals. They settled on The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Beck is the director.
“I wanted to start with a play the kids were familiar with,” she said.
MaST, 1800 Byberry Road, presented two performances of the show last weekend.
Two more performances are planned this weekend. Show times are 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 20. Doors open 30 minutes before each performance.
Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door. For more information, email Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org
About 40 students are part of the production, and Beck said many of the actors are showing some personality in their roles..
“The kids are really, really excited. Given the amount of newbies, it’s going very well,” she said.
Lyga, a junior, serves as stage manager. She describes the show as more than a love story, with a major political plot.
“There are a lot of intertwined themes that work,” she said.
There is an incentive for the students taking the elective to put on a good performance.
“Our whole grade is this show,” Lyga said.
Abi Thomas plays Juliet. Romeo is also played by a girl, Harley Gallen.
Lash, a junior, said he joined Lyga in founding the Shakespeare Society because, while the playwright’s work was covered in English classes, they wanted more attention on him.
“We’re both passionate about Shakespeare, acting and theater,” he said.
Lash plays Mercutio, Romeo’s best friend. He is pleased with how the Shakespeare Society has evolved so well so quickly.
“Here we are now, proud of what Shakespeare means at MaST,” he said. “A lot of people are excited about the show. It’s been a lot of fun.” ••