Shakespeare’s plays like you haven’t seen before

  • King Lear, played by Heath Mann, banishes daughter Cordelia, played by Anna Lombardi during the ‘King Lear’ adaptation at Rundlett Middle School. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • King Lear, played by Heath Mann, has some trouble with daughters, Goneril, played by Shaylee Artus, left, and Regan, played by Emma Hall. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • King Lear’s daughter Regan, played by Emma Hall, drinks the poison in the Shakespeare adaptation at Rundlett Middle School. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • A scene from “The taming of the Shrew.” GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • It is not easy winning over the heart of Kate, played by Keisha Johnson, as Pertruchio, played by Christopher Renaud during “The Taming of the Shrew.” GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Kate, played by Keisha Johnson, and Petruchio, played by Christopher Renaud, fight during a scene from the adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ at Rundlett Middle School. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Bianca, played by Emma McGuckin, fawns over Lucentio during the “The Taming of the Shrew,” one of four Shakespeare adaptations at Rundlett Middle School this weekend. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 11/2/2016 10:00:09 PM

This is Shakespeare like you haven’t seen before.

Tonight through Saturday, with shows at 7 p.m., Rundlett Middle School students will perform Shakespeare on the Green: Fun, Frantic and Slightly Fractured Introductions to Shakespeare Plays in the New Activity Room at the school.

The play by Amanda Petefish-Schrag and Ben Schrag combines the stories of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, King Lear, Comedy of Errors and The Winter’s Tale. The original script also includes a segment based on The Merry Wives of Windsor, which will be omitted in the children’s performance for adult content.

The four plays are revamped and condensed into short fun segments, carried along by a series of narrators, which use modern language to make Shakespeare’s classic plays accessible to a wider audience.

“The pieces are cuttings of the full plays and tell the stories with the help of narrators in three of the four pieces . . . narrators who are comically intertwined within the action,” wrote Director Karen Braz in an email.

Braz stresses that the play is not “scary, unaccessible Shakespeare,” but modern English with the occasional Elizabethan phrase thrown in for comedy.

Those phrases “are lines that are very easy to understand within the context of that story,” Braz wrote. “It’s all very funny as well.”

There are 25 students in the cast and an additional 10 in the crew.

For the segment on The Taming of the Shrew, seventh-grader Christopher Renaud plays Petruchio and eighth-grader Keisha Johnson is Kate.

In the section based on Comedy of Errors, twins Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus of Ephesus are played by eighth-graders Abe Winnett-Knoy and Brady Haywood-Minery. Their servants, also twins, Dromio of Syracuse and Dromio of Ephesus are played by sixth-grader Ryder Fish and seventh-grader Jordan Buterbaugh.

For The Winter’s Tale segment, King Leontes is played by seventh-grader Declan Adams, and Queen Hermione is played by eighth-grader Olivia Lamper.

In the part on King Lear, sixth-grader Heath Mann plays the king, and his daughters – Goneril, Regan and Cordelia – are played by eighth-graders Emma Hall, Anna Lombardi and Shaylee Artus.

The students are very excited to wear beautiful costumes provided by Gay Bean from the Community Players of Concord and fight with plastic swords, Braz said. King Lear includes a very comedic death scene, she added.

The show also includes a backdrop rented from Stewart Backdrops to complete the look.

“It’s a fun show performed by a talented group of young actors, crewed by a group of committed students, all supported by hard-working parents,” Braz wrote. “They should all be applauded and supported by the community.”

Tickets are $8 or $5 for students and seniors. You can purchase in advance by emailing

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