Westmount Advanced Acting: Shakespeare Through a New Lens

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By Marielle H.

Another year, another show. Westmount Advanced Acting class is putting on the comedic show “Twelfth Night’. This December students, teachers and parents can come experience the joys of Shakespeare’s writing with his witty humour, infused with the unique interpretation of actors. Advanced Acting student Sara, playing the role of Viola, tells viewers not to “come expecting to be bored by Shakespeare.” Students are building the show through their blocking, text work and hours upon hours of rehearsal.

“Twelfth Night” is the story occurring after shipwreck in which Viola loses her twin brother and needs to disguise herself as a man to protect herself. Through this story misinterpretation, confusion and romance pull together with a comedic spin.  “You can see a real life situation that was really complicated by Shakespeare,become simple again in our Westmount terms,” says Hunter who is playing the role of Sebastian. Many people are intimidated by Shakespeare, but Allison, who is portraying Olivia, thinks people just need to, “Stop focusing so much on the words and start focusing on more [like] the characters dynamics and [like] their interacting with other characters.” Through a lot of script work students are truly understanding the story and who they are playing, making it enjoyable and seamless for others to watch.
When having a role in such an iconic Shakespeare show, it makes sense for the students to have some nerves. With having many years of experience in theatre, they have learned some tricks that work for them to relax. “Singing calms me down. It just grounds me for some kind of reason,” says Hunter. Many actors and actresses including Allison, Sarah, and Hunter find relaxation in music and vocal warm ups before a show. For Sarah to get into character she “choose[s] a song for [her] character and [she] listen to that.” Other students including Jamie find a cool handshake relieves their nerves.

Each and everyone of the students are working as hard as they can to understand their character and find their own meaning in the show. After working with her character for a couple of weeks Allison has decided, “Olivia is super creepy and I’m super creepy.” With the show opening on December 12th  the countdown to opening night fast approaching and students are working hard. “Everyone wants to make this the best show possible” Hunter says.”Twelfth Night” by Westmounts Advanced Acting class is for everyone, whether a Shakespeare fanatic or a newbie. Allison encourages people to, “Come with an open mind and be read to be wowed.” Be prepared to view Shakespeare in a new way thanks to everyone apart of the Winter Show directed by Ms. McDowell and performed by Westmount Advanced Acting students.

More Quotes from Students!

Sara“The play deals with a lot of homosexual issues, which aren’t spoken about, but are there subtly.” and” Viola is sort of dealing with  figuring out who she is and how to survive in the world in the way we have to cause next year we’re graduated and we’ll be ‘well what do I do now, shit.’

Allison “I’ve murdered somebody” and “I just love acting and it’s something fun. It’s a lot of work but it doesn’t seem like work, it just seems like fun!”

Hunter “I like watching the older students. They really bring out the quality in their lines. I it definitely helps me to learn from them. What words and phrases they pick out to make their lines really have an impact.”

Jamie  “In the dress rehearsal [of Annie] I fell offstage and that was my first ever dress rehearsal and it really psyched me out.” and “In the same show I sat in a bucket because it was in a scene I had to sit in a bucket and pretend to get stuck, but I actually got stuck. So I had to call offstage.”

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