MEEKER I The Meeker Arts and Cultural Council (MACC), in cooperation with the ERBM Recreation and Park District, sponsored a performing arts outreach experience for Meeker-area drama students.
Those who are members of the Meeker High School Drama Club and International Thespian Society Troupe 1284 and the ERBM Recreation and Park District’s Center Stage Youth Theatrical Group, which includes elementary- and middle-school-aged youth members. Youth are members of Venturing Crew 91 for high school youth and Explorer Club 91 for Middle School/Elementary Youth sponsored by the MACC.
Drama students traveled to Boulder to attend the University of Colorado’s renowned Colorado Shakespeare Festival production of “Much Ado About Nothing” on July 31 at the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theater.
Drama students included Sena Zellers, Kate Lockwood, Cooper Main, Ruby Holliday, Alanna Maybury-Scott, Hunter Mathe, Ashdon Seibert, Mason Holliday and Savanna May. Adult advisors were Gary and Laurie Zellers, Shana Holliday and Bob Amick.
The production included a prologue 45 minutes prior to the performance to educate audience members on Shakespeare’s work and interpretation of the show. The director explained that the season’s repertoire had three very “dark” Shakespearean works, including “Othello,” “Henry V,” “Henry VI, Part 1” and another production, “Wittenberg.”
”Much Ado” is the comedic antithesis to the other Shakespearean works so it provides some hilarious relief for audiences attending the entire repertoire of productions. This production was cast in the 1840s era in Italy with appropriate period costumes. The play is one of Shakespeare’s best comedic works, filled with mirthful intrigue, romance, plots and subplots, and kept the audience in almost continuous laughter throughout the production.
Costumes were very well designed, and the set depicting a nobleman’s home of marble floors and columns was very well presented. Lighting and sound effects were equally well done and spectacular.
Following the performance, audience members were invited for a “talkback,” where audience members asked questions and cast members responded.
When asked what the background and experience of the players included, actors shared that their experience ranged widely from being professional Shakespearean actors in the Royal London Theatre to university drama majors to first-year freshman non-drama major students with no prior acting experience.
The Meeker youths asked many questions for more than 45 minutes and were very impressed with the interaction with the actors.
The lead actor went on to say that the interaction with the audience was a hallmark of Shakespearean productions in the original Stratford-on-Avon theater and shows were conducted in daylight so this production emulated much of the original manner of presentation and live-audience interaction, which added to the fun. (See www.coloradoshakes.org)
Following the production, club members stayed overnight in Boulder and attended the farmer’s market and the Museum of Contemporary Art, which featured a variety of live interactive electronic displays, composite art works and other creative displays that are seldom seen. Then they traveled to the CU campus to visit other university venues and attended the renowned Fiske Planetarium to view a spectacular star show of the night sky including constellations, planets and astronomy, and a high definition video of the international space station.
Students remarked about their experiences.
Hunter Mathe said, “I absolutely loved the trip; it was a lot of fun. I’d have to say my favorites were the play, the hotel, the museum and the planetarium.”
Alanna Scott said, “Boulder was really fun. I liked the play and the planetarium. I hope I can go again.”
Sena Zellers said, “I had so much fun! It was great! I was so happy to go see “Much Ado About Nothing.” It was so funny! The planetarium we went to was breathtaking. I loved it so much!”
Future outreach trips are planned to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Colorado Mesa University theater arts productions and much more.