A Wacky Version of Shakespeare at Vicksburg High School

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From left to right: Director Melissa Sparks, Jacob Henderson, Jess Schmidt (in black wig), Samantha Carr, Emily Towns, Lindsay Fleck, Marisa Miller, Levi Shephard, Alex Smith.

By Sue Moore

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) will be presented by Vicksburg High School drama students Friday and Saturday, November 17 and 18 at 7 p. m. and Sunday, November 19, at 2 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center (PAC).

All 37 plays in 97 minutes? Really?

It’s an irreverent, fast-paced romp through the Bard’s plays, according to Director Melissa Sparks. The compilation was London’s longest-running comedy, having clocked nine years in London’s West End. The Vicksburg high school cast weaves its way through all of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories and tragedies in a wild ride that will leave the audience breathless and helpless with laughter, according to Sparks.

Shakespeare plays were a passion for Director Melissa Sparks when she was growing up. “I used to assign my teddy bears and dolls with names from his plays and line them up in my bedroom to perform with me. We lived on the east side of the state and summered in a cottage on Howard Lake where I had a book of Shakespeare plays which I loved to read to while away my days,” she said.

“I chose this wacky, wild and funny play because we like the madcap nature of it. We have a lot of fun with doing improv which is a new experience for many of those in the cast of 10. Additional students have been added to do their own sketches before the curtain opens, so we advise the audience to come early and enjoy the nuances of Shakespeare,” Sparks pointed out.

The cast includes Lindsay Fleck, Emily Towns, Jess Schmidt, Levi Shephard, Alex Smith, Sydney Andres, Jacob Henderson, Samantha Carr, Marisa Miller and Autumn Rose. Helping behind the scenes are Zach Russell as stage manager, Leslie Baird and Stephanie Slaughter as his assistants. Lauren Burke and Autumn Johnson are assistant directors. “I like to put them to work as staff members so they get the real-life experience. This is a play by the students and for the students. They get to help block scenes and all the rest that goes into a quality stage production,” Sparks said.

Tickets for this event are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $5 for students (18 and under), and $30 for families of five or more. Reservations can be made by visiting vicksburgcommunityschools.org/pac or by calling the Vicksburg PAC ticket office at 321-1193 beginning November 12.

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