Silver Lake Regional High School became a wacky wild Stratford on Avon where the words of the Bard were bandied about with a new twist provided by English students, all seniors, Tess Beckwith of Plympton, Ali Farina of Halifax, and Tom McSorley and Abby Kramer, both of Kingston.
From a love of Shakespeare, the four writers, under the direction of Silver Lake staff Shakespeare and English teachers Heather Bates and Ashley Ferrara, presented their homage to the Bard Thursday, Feb. 15, with performances throughout the day to English students and a finale public performance at 5 p.m. to the public. The play honored Shakespeare’s 454th birthday, which is thought to be April 23, 1564.
Brainstorming for the project began in the summer of 2017. Students were chosen from project applicants by staff teachers Bates and Ferrara. After months of collaboration, writing, and re-writing, A Quinn-Kle in Time was born.
The seniors were given the opportunity to present their show with a cast -which grew to 60 in the past two years – and figuratively leave their marks – written with a magical quill pen – as their legacy in the Silver Lake Drama Department.
Their meetings were held to exchange Shakespearian tragedy in their coolest teen hangout – Panera! As if the entire world was a stage they openly laughed, twisted, penned, edited and formed their 2018 Shakespeare Festival script with as much amusement, underlying humor, and irony as Shakespeare himself or at least in their case more like his intern Quinn.
The fictitious intern Quinn, played by Quinn Bonnyman of Halifax, literally whirls through time in the portal, which is a white sign (insert imagination). The typical ending of a Shakespeare wedding was recognized with not one but three weddings.
With continued coaching, editing and tweaking, the script developed through the fall.
“Each year we come up with new things to do. We were doing an independent study where students were writing the spring show just to celebrate his birthday. It morphed each year into different sonnet reads, stage fighting then in 2006 a couple students wrote an independent study. From there we decided this would be really fun… in the last couple years there has been so much interest, “ said Bates.
The student writers/directors embraced all aspects of the show casting, costuming, and set designing with only eight rehearsals.
The four plays, based on Much Ado about Nothing, The Tempest, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet, added such calamity as Banquo’s ghost riding a toy horse scooter and a same sex couple ending in unity between Mercutio and Romeo. They also included in their twisted-up plots a few inside jokes that drew uproarious laughter among the auditorium of students and families.
The Shakespeare Festival has become a tradition which a group of seniors take on each year, said Ali Farina one of the writers. Changing it up to keep it fresh is an annual challenge they meet with gusto.
All four writers have begun their countdown to graduation, with college next fall and a multitude of career aspirations. Their collective advice to incoming freshman, whether it is drama club or sport, is ‘make sure to join in something you love’.