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Union Street Journal

Rewriting Shakespeare

What goes into writing and producing a play?

Ella Kropf, Staff Writer

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This year, the fall play is called “Shaken Up Shakespeare”, and it was written and produced by teachers Ms. Mhari Doyle and Mr. James Miller. Miller and Doyle liked the 50’s music, clothes, costume, and era and they wanted to “shake up Shakespeare,” and all of this helped them decide to write their own play set in the 50’s.  Doyle loves Shakespeare and theater,  so she decided to help write and co-direct the play this year.

“We wanted to do something that celebrated the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 1616, and because it is 2016, Doyle and Miller wanted to do a Shakespeare play.” Doyle explained. They couldn’t make up their minds on which Shakespeare play to use when looking at a combination of plays.  Miller really wanted to honor the language of the original Shakespeare plays and highlight famous speeches. “Miller and Doyle borrowed lines from many plays and eventually came up with their own storyline,” Doyle said.  

James Miller has been doing theater since he was ten years old. He “was trained right here at Cherry Creek High School, learned everything, costumes, building, construction, acting, singing and from there I have been involved in theater. Went to college for theater. I’ve been a performer and I started teaching twenty years ago, it has been a life of the theater,” Miller said. He helps all of the students prepare by “introducing techniques of character development and collaboration” because it isn’t a requirement to be one of his classes to be in the play.

Every line in the play is one of Shakespeare’s, but the writers just used it in different context. “Miller and Doyle were inspired by a lot of parts from Romeo and Juliet and a lot from Hamlet and King Lear and just their overall love for Shakespeare,” said Doyle. The writers used parts mainly from these plays, because they know that these are the main ones taught in English classes and will be the most understood by students. Miller and Doyle want the audience to be able to understand what is going on throughout the play.

Chloe Stacks, a ninth grader, is also new to theater here at Creek. It takes a lot to get into and be able to succeed in a play. She says that her director, Miller, always says actors “have to make bold choices” to succeed, and Stacks says “do something out of the ordinary but still fits in the role, I think that will increase your chances” of getting a high role. She has been acting for four years and has performed in many plays at West Middle School and outside of school. Some include “Alice and Wonderland”, “The Wizard of Oz”, “101 Dalmatians”, “Crazy For You” and many others. To prepare for a play, the actors have to do many things like, block and memorize their lines. Stacks said, “This show it took me two weeks to memorize all my lines, but I think the time it takes really depends on how many you have.” The actors also usually have an off-book day and on this day, they need to have all of their lines memorized. Chloe says that they do a lot to prepare. “Rehearsal every day from 3 to 5:30, then tech week is 3 to 7” Stacks explained.  They also have workshopping which is the editing process of the play so they may gain or lose lines randomly.

The play is performing on October 14, 15, 20, and 21 at 7 PM, and on October 15 at 2 PM. Tickets are available in the Fine Arts box office and sales start on October 10.

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The student news site of Cherry Creek High School
Rewriting Shakespeare