Students back on stage
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.”
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.