Shakespeare returns to Parkrose

Last season, the Parkrose High thespians showed us how entertaining Shakespeare could be with their production of “Romeo & Juliet”. See why you and your family will enjoy seeing this show …

In the upcoming production of Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” Jason Mc Ghee plays Angeo; Paris Mayhew is Luciana; and Bret Atwood plays Aegeon.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
Many folks have avoided plays by 16th century playwright William Shakespeare, fearing they won’t understand “old English” and can’t understand the story, or they believe that stories written so long ago just can’t be relevant.

But, with their production of “Romeo & Juliet” last spring, Parkrose High School Thespian Troupe #1783 showed audiences how compelling and pertinent Shakespeare’s works can be.

“We like Shakespeare!” exclaims the school’s theater instructor, Ms. Zena. “His works are really accessible, especially to teenagers.” She explains that it’s easy for both the actors and the audience to “get the drift” of his stories.

The works of Shakespeare are actually written in early modern English, Zena tells us. “Many people don’t realize this, because he wrote in a poetic form.”

Picks up the pace
Although the actors speak the words written by Shakespeare in 1594, Zena does significantly edit the plays. “In the style of the day, characters typically said the same thing three times, to three different levels of audience members. We only say it once. It picks up the pace of the play.”

Slapstick Shakespeare? Yes, indeed!
“The Comedy of Errors” tells the story of two sets of identical twins who meet up in a distant city. The play’s main characters encounter the friends and families of the second set of twins.

Having two sets of identical twins in the same place, at the same time, leads to a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities, wrongful accusations, and odd romantic situations.

“This play is loaded with comedy, puns, and even slapstick humor,” says Zena.

Their goal, she adds, is for their audiences to have as much fun watching Shakespeare as they have presenting it. From what we’ve seen in a sneak-peek at a rehearsal, both the Parkrose High staging and costuming are as colorful as is the story.

Bringing this full-stage production to life are 35 actors in colorful costuming – including a two-person donkey. “This is definitely a family event. Come, and you’ll discover how entertaining works of Shakespeare truly are,” Zena urges, as the cast plans their movements for a portion for the play.

The show runs two weekends
The Parkrose High School Thespian Troupe #1783 presents “The Comedy of Errors” on November 1 and 2, and on Nov. 7, 8 and 9. The curtain goes up at 7:00 p.m. Or, see a special 2:00 p.m. matinee performance on Saturday, November 3.

If you haven’t attended an event at the Parkrose High School Theater, (12003 NE Shaver Street, at NE 122nd Avenue), you’ll be impressed when you walk in this modern facility. Theatre operations manager Terry Franceschi, and his crew of 20 student theatrical technicians provide professional lighting, sound, and staging.

Tickets are only $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Call (503) 408-2718 for tickets or more information.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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