Oswego High School’s Standing O Theater Company was hard at work on its Fall play performance, performing Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” with an interesting twist. They modernized the characters and sets, but still spoke in the early Modern English of the original text.
Opening night was Wednesday, Oct. 19. The cast performed three other times, once on Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. and twice on Oct. 22 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
“Taming of the Shrew” is one of Shakespeare’s first comedies, believed to be written between 1590 and 1592. The main plot revolves around a character named Petruchio trying to get a “shrew of a woman” named Katherina to agree to marry him.
The theater department, Including Katherine Conant, the Director of the fall play and sponsor of Standing O Theater Company, had a lot to do before the performances. In order to modernize the setting of “Taming of the Shrew,” the crew had to paint 54 different set pieces in six weeks.
The play being in Early Modern English posed a challenge for many of the cast members. Junior Owen Kalkman, who played Lucentio in the play, describes the play as being difficult to translate into a performance.
“It’s basically a different language. It feels like there are times you don’t really know what you’re saying, and that can be hard,” Kalkman says.
The students did have a translation in order to understand the script, but had to deliver the lines in the original dialect. While a tough script may not seem like much of an issue for a school play, it just adds to the many other difficulties that the cast can face over the course of a project.
“There are times when it feels like we should be on top of things and we should be the best theater company we can possibly be, and there are times where it’s like, ‘oh, this is high school, don’t even worry about it,’” Kalkman says.
According to senior and Student Director Madison Mata, the difficulty of this piece and the lack of COVID restrictions has made a “better atmosphere” and a “bigger sense of community.”
Mata is not the only actor who thought this, as Junior Luke Lockwood said that it was nice to be able to have more personal and direct connections with other cast members.
“You can see people by face and talk to them, [so] you get more of an in-person, real life experience with your peers,” Lockwood says.
With an increase in the sense of community and atmosphere in the theater department, there is no better time to join.
“We have a very welcoming community where we bring in people from all types of backgrounds whether you actually know how to act or whether you are there just to build or design costumes,” Mata says. ”I think we provide a place that everybody can fit in but also learn to do other things that maybe they never thought to even try before [that] they end up loving.”