Marion students take on Shakespeare

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

While most students were in class, more than 20 Marion Academy students spent 12 hours in the gym everyday this past week.

They weren’t preparing for a big game, nor were they working out – they were preparing for something different, but equally demanding.

Tonight these students will perform Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” at 7 p.m. and all they are asking for in exchange for their months of dedication and hard work is a small donation.

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“Some of the students had their scripts since before Christmas and they are all really dedicated,” drama teacher and sponsor Becky Davis said. “We started rehearsing about five months ago and this week they spent everyday rehearsing, building the set, working on their costumes and getting the lighting and sound ready. The students are in charge of everything.”

But the Davis and her students weren’t doing this alone. For expert help, they called on traveling Shakespearian play producer, the Rev. Gerald Partin from Montgomery’s Alpha Kappa Players, a drama-touring group.

“I met Gerald at one of our state meetings about two years ago and he came to do ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ last year,” Davis said. “After that, the kids had it in their minds that they wanted to do it again. They are already planning to do ‘Macbeth’ next year.”

The production is the second play for the students during the 2005-06 school year after performing “The Velveteen Rabbit” in the fall.

In addition to the groups’ biannual performances, Davis said she is working on a touring schedule to share their shows with area schools.

Not only do the plays provide entertainment to parents and friends, Davis said students involved in acting benefit from their participation as well.

“It teaches them responsibility and a part of history,” she said. “I teach English and the acting students show more interest and understanding in class when we cover Shakespeare.”

With a cast ranging from sixth graders to parents and Kellen Greene as “Viola,” Rachel Looney as “Olivia,” Sean Davis as “Orsino,” and James Allen Stewart as “Sebastian,” Davis is sure the audience will enjoy the play.

“It’s fun and they like what they are doing,” she said. “Plus it’s a funny play and the kids worked really hard on this.”