Texas Shakespeare Festival Performs for Theater Department

Kristen Orsak, Editor

The Texas Shakespeare Traveling Company visited the school to do a showing of A Midsummers Night Dream on Monday, Oct. 28.

“The show’s director, Matthew Simpson, contacted me about this show a week before they were planning on coming,” Theater teacher Chris Watlington said. “I knew that it was going to be good, but it shocked me at how good [it was].”

 

The cast of A Midsummers Night Dream were individuals from all over the United States who audition for roles through the Texas Shakespeare Festival. This specific group was a part of touring Roadshow. 

“I am originally from California, but I live in Chicago currently,” cast member Walter Jacob said. “Theatre has been a large part of my life since I was in middle school. This is not my first show with the Texas Shakespeare Festival and it will not be my last.”

Many of the cast members are very serious about theater. Usually, they major in theater in college, but many of them are a part of this tour for fun.

“I have always loved the thrill of the show,” cast member Shunte Lofton said. “This is a different experience than you get in school. We rehearse the shows for the tour about two weeks prior to our first performance. Currently, we are performing Julius Caesar and A Midsummers Night Dream. We audition for our parts and go straight into rehearsal ready to begin on the small details.”

The experience of this tour is very rapid and stressful for the actors. They began this tour on October 14th and it ends on November 16th.

“We don’t really prepare for a specific setting,” cast member Grace Abele said. “We perform anywhere from a library to a very nice stage. It depends on the school we go to. It is a really neat learning experience for the students, especially for smaller schools that do not have access to a professional theater nearby.”

The group brought everything they needed for the performance. Watlington and his classes cleaned the stage and put things away, but the tour group had all costume pieces, props, and set pieces when they arrived.

“They got here at the end of lunch and began unloading their set,” Watlington said. “I walked out in the middle of sixth period and they had set up everything they needed without me even knowing.”

These cast members are professionals. They do these shows as a way of making money, but it is not necessarily their job. This is genuinely a program they are passionate about sharing. 

“This was an amazing learning experience for my classes,” Watlington said. “I definitely plan on this being a new annual event for the school. In the future, I would like to bring in bigger audiences. Art students, English students, and theater students will all benefit from seeing Shakespeare performed on this scale.”