‘Shakesblood’ Ushers In The Spooky Season : Student-Directed Show Offers A Modern, Bloody Twist on Shakespeare’s Classic Works

edited.Shakesblood_ToriZieminski_1By Olivia Montes

Elm Staff Writer

For centuries, the works of famed playwright William Shakespeare have graced stages across the globe, capturing audiences with tales of forbidden romance, dramatic monologues, and, more often than not, frequent back-stabbings.

On Oct. 5, the Bard’s famed blood-oozing masterpieces will hit the Egg at Washington College, but with an interesting twist, according to one of the show’s student directors, junior Calisa Gayle.

“‘ShakesBlood’ is the bloodiest scenes in Shakespeare combined into one production.It uses a combination of both Shakespearean English and modern English,” she said.

“Shakesblood” aims to provide audiences with a little bit of everything, from over-the-top drama to hilarious moments that audiences would rarely witness in an actual Shakespearean tragedy.

“‘ShakesBlood’ is funnier overall and it is a much more modern and gory spin on his works,” Gayle said.

“I believe that this production highlights the funny scenes in Shakespeare productions, along with bringing awareness to other themes in plays like ‘Macbeth,’ ‘King Lear,’ ‘Titus Andronicus,’ ‘Hamlet,’ and ‘A Winter’s Tale,’” she said.

In Gayle’s opinion, the most challenging part of bringing “Shakesblood” to life was the language of the script.

“The actors have done a great job in asking questions about the language and going through the objectives of each scene. I think that this type of table work has allowed them to improve tremendously during rehearsals,” she said.

“It’s a really fast-paced show,” sophomore Berkleigh Fadden, who plays the Second Witch in the production, said.

“It’s one scene after the next in the goofiest way possible. There’s even a random dance number,” Fadden said.

Though the show’s focus is adding a sense of humor to Shakespeare’s otherwise gut-wrenching scenes, it doesn’t stray far from its rooted themes, according to sophomore Michaela Creel, the production’s stage manager.

“The goal of the show is to use all of Shakespeare’s goriest deaths with a little bit of light comedy, but also to help get students interested in reading or just appreciating his works,” Creel said.

The play also aims to capture, enrich, and engage audiences with its elements of hilarity and surprise, according to junior Stephaney Wilson, the production’s co-director.

“It’s a mix of Shakespeare and contemporary elements, which is a really interesting kind of perspective,” she said. “It’s a way to not only get students involved in classic stories, but also to enjoy Shakespeare for what it is.”

Whether they are working on stage or behind the curtain, this play and its cast and crew aim to convey a sense of confidence and utilize theatre production skills to help create a memorable experience for not only themselves, but audiences as well.

“I’ve always wanted to direct a show, and this was a perfect opportunity,” Gayle said. “I thought that this would give me the chance to step back from acting and take a look at productions through a new lens.”

“There’s a lot less stress working on a student-led show, and it’s definitely a lot of fun,” Creel said.

Whether or not you are a die-hard Shakespeare fan, the “Shakesblood” cast and crew reassure students that there is indeed something for everyone.

“Being involved in this production is a way different experience. There was a lot of liberty, and it was interesting to see the vision for the show come to life,” Fadden said.

“I think everyone and anyone should see the show,” Gayle said, “For Shakespeare fanatics I think it will be a bit unnerving, but I think it will generally be an interesting and successful show. I hope people end up appreciating Shakespeare more after the production.”

Wilson warns students to be prepared for a night full of surprises—everything from cannons full of blood to a giant skull.

“Enjoy the bloody good show, and watch out for bears,” she said.

“Shakesblood” will be performed on Oct. 5 in the Egg in Hodson Hall from 6 to 7 p.m.

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