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Newtown High School students have been busy working to prepare for the school’s fall drama adaptation of Julius Caesar, which will be staged at Reed Intermediate School, November 17 to 20.
Show times are at 7 pm, Thursday, November 17, through Saturday, November 19. The Sunday, November 20, show will be performed at 2 pm. Tickets will be sold only at the door, $7 for students and faculty, $10 for seniors, and $12 for general admission.
The show is student-directed by seniors Brandon Pavlicek, Jack Palermo, and Trevor Legeret. Co-advisors are Brian Tenney and Janice Gabriel. Due to the Newtown High School auditorium renovation project, the high school drama production is being shown on the stage in Reed’s cafetorium.
Mr Tenney said this year’s fall drama has had some challenges, between the change of venue and script, but all involved, especially the students, have grown because of those obstacles. Newtown High School Latin teacher Jennifer Huettner has also helped with rehearsals and pronunciations for the script.
“We are very impressed with all the creativity we have seen… [and] all the raw talent we have seen,” said Mr Tenney.
According to both Mr Tenney and Ms Gabriel, the last time the high school staged a Shakespearean play was in the fall of 2000 when The Taming of the Shrew was performed.
Trevor described the play, which the directors chose to call Caesar and to set in 1930s Italy, as centering around dictator Julius Caesar.
“Some of his friends and colleagues decide to conspire against him, and kill him, and try to start a revolution in Rome,” said Trevor.
Brandon said the directors chose the play, “primarily because we wanted to do something that is dramatic. We also wanted to do something that was Shakespeare.”
Brandon is interested in filmmaking and one of his idols is Orson Welles.
“Before he went into the movies he was a theater director, and he actually did a very similar adaptation of Julius Caesar. There isn’t much information about it, but he did the same time period switch,” said Brandon. “And we just wanted to kind of take that and kind of do it in our own way.”
Jack said the idea of doing Julius Caesar as the 2016 fall drama “appealed to us the most.”
“It can be so easily adaptable,” Jack said. “Shakespeare on its own can be hard for a lot of people to sit through, but given the nature of Caesar we knew we could update it and make it more interesting.”
Brandon said people should come out to see the play because many have not seen a play “quite like it.”
“The whole play deals with political unrest in a country and people being unhappy, and that is very reflective of today, really all around the world and especially in America. There is that political unrest,” said Brandon. “I think there is a lot of parallels between our show and the real world.”
Jack said over the months of work, the play has “progressed to such a high level of sophistication.”
“I think it is something really special that people will enjoy,” said Jack.
Trevor said the high school’s adaptation of Julius Caesar will give people an alternative Shakespeare play rather than the typically performed Romeo and Juliet.
“I think people should come see the play because it is a new take on a classic, and it is something we have worked really hard on these past months,” said Trevor, adding that the production has an “extremely talented cast and crew.”
Cast members for the production are Brooks Petershack as Caesar; Jacob Schultz as Brutus; Charles Soto as Cassius; Barrett DeYoung as Casca; Emma Stierle as Cinna the Conspirator; Will Crebbin as Metellus; Nicolas Stowell as Marc Antony; Aidan Moulder as Trebonius; Olyvia Shaw as Octavius; Charles Romano as Lucius; Michael Killeen as Pindarus; Calista Giroux as Portia; McKenzie Iazzetta as Calpurnia; Melissa Shohet as Soothsayer; Matty Murphy as Cinna the Poet; Thomas Coppinger, Charles Romano, Will Crebbin, and Todd Perrin as attackers of Cinna the Poet; Claire Swanson as Artemidorus; Todd Perrin as Flavius; Michael Killeen as Marullus; Claire Swanson as Cobbler; and Phoebe Doscher, Sarah Grant, Thomas Coppinger, Michael Killeen, Todd Perrin, Matty Murphy, Melissa Shohet, Claire Swanson, and Will Crebbin as citizens, guards, servants, and other parts.
Members of the crew are Stage Manager Monique Dubois, Technical Director Capri Agresta, Production Manager Harrison Hoffert, Scenic and Costume Designer Katherine Humber, Construction Head Sam Zakur, Painting Heads Izzy Pryor and Daphne Mack, Lighting Head Ashleigh Shaw, Sound Head Phoebe Mack, Props Manager Jaden Albrecht, Hair and Makeup Head Arline Almeter, and Producer Ajene Arokium.
General crew members are Lily Beasley, Laura Wong, Evelyn Schwertley, Ashley Canes, Lisa Enaye, Sarah Grant, Nina Soriano, Andrew Holden, Hannah Gates, Bobby Gaffney, Emily Maher, and John McCann.