Stu­dents back on stage

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY COLIN MACGIL­LIVRAY

There is much ado about Hor­sham Col­lege’s drama de­part­ment – and it’s not for ‘noth­ing’.

Fresh off the success of Au­gust’s Happy Days mu­si­cal, the col­lege will stage a pro­duc­tion of Shake­speare’s Much Ado About Noth­ing from De­cem­ber 13 to 15.

It will mark the first time since 1998 – when stu­dents per­formed The Se­cret Gar­den and The Wizard of Oz – the col­lege has put on two pro­duc­tions in one year.

Co-di­rec­tor Emily Friedrich­sen said stu­dents had been work­ing hard to make sure the pro­duc­tion was a success.

“We’re re­ally try­ing to get the kids to take own­er­ship of the show,” she said.

“They have made the sets them­selves for tech and design.

“Half of the prepa­ra­tion has been ded­i­cated to fin­ish­ing the sets and half has been re­hearsal.

“It’s been blocked and done, and now it’s just rinse and re­peat and them learn­ing their lines.”

Ms Friedrich­sen said stag­ing back-to­back pro­duc­tions at the col­lege for the first time in 20 years had been a big un­der­tak­ing.

She said she ini­tially wa­vered when asked by prin­ci­pal Rob Py­ers to take on two pro­duc­tions, but even­tu­ally agreed.

“I hes­i­tated to do it be­cause of the lo­gis­ti­cal side, but this is where my pas­sion lies,” she said.

“I spoke to my col­league Kathryn Mcleod and said, ‘What do you think? Can we tackle some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent?’

“Shake­speare is Kat’s forte, so we teamed up and di­rected the show to­gether. It’s been great work­ing with her.”

Ex­pe­ri­ence

Stu­dents trav­elled to Mel­bourne two weeks ago to see a Mel­bourne Theatre Com­pany per­for­mance of the Shake­speare play Twelfth Night, star­ring co­me­dian Frank Wood­ley and Men at Work front­man Colin Hay.

Ms Friedrich­sen said see­ing an­other Shake­speare com­edy helped give the stu­dents an idea of how to de­liver their lines and how to en­gage with some of the Bard of Avon’s ar­chaic lan­guage.

She said the themes of Much Ado About Noth­ing had also res­onated with the stu­dents.

“They’re en­joy­ing pulling it apart and tak­ing on this weird lan­guage that they’ve strug­gled with, and learn­ing what the story is about,” she said.

“They’re tak­ing on the idea of the dam­age a ru­mour can do. They can re­late that back to their school days and what hap­pens here with their friends.”

In­cluded in the cast of 18 is Os­car O’brien, who re­cently won the col­lege’s Katie and James Sawyer Top Per­for­mance award.

The award is given to a se­nior stu­dent com­plet­ing their fi­nal year of study in a per­for­mance sub­ject.

Ms Friedrich­sen said O’brien was in year 11 but re­cently com­pleted a year-12 drama sub­ject.

“Os­car is out­stand­ing, whether it’s mu­sic or drama – if we give him some­thing to learn one day, he’ll come back and know it the next,” she said.

Ms Friedrich­sen said O’brien would play the role of Don Pe­dro, Prince of Aragon, in the play.

Tick­ets for the pro­duc­tion are on sale at Hor­sham Col­lege ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fice, and are also avail­able at the door at Hor­sham Church of Christ. All tick­ets for the 7.30pm shows are $10. Peo­ple want­ing more in­for­ma­tion can call the col­lege on 5381 7100.

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