By: Keira Deer
Four of Mission’s drama students present an energetic presentation of Shakespeare’s finest.
Donning Elizabethan era costumes and multi-co
lored Converse high tops, four of Mission Viejo High School’s dedicated drama students presented “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)” at the opening of the school year. The cast — a quartet of quick-witted senior actors — focused in on the comical stylings of Logan Booth, Toby Dervartanian, Liam Shannon, and Danny Sheikh.
The production was directed by Mission alumnus of 2019, Charlie Massey, who participated in the school’s drama program while he attended, as well as the annual spring musicals. Running from September 5 to 7, “Shakespeare (abridged)” consisted of 36 works of Shakespeare, all performed within the time constraints of just two hours.
Each piece was performed in an unparagoned and entertaining manner, whether it was categorized as a comedy, a tragedy, or a history. Creativity led the cast to perform some pieces as a capella songs, cooking shows, and even as a reenactment of a football game.
Chris Pang, a junior at Mission, describes the show as “a masterfully choreographed rendition of a compilation of literary classics, containing a perfect balance of individual comedy and audience participation.”
A high level of audience interaction was involved in the play, as the actors prompted those in the audience to chant along with them, or were “vomited on” in the front rows, in the midst of Danny Sheikh’s joking and theatrical death scenes.
“I was so surprised and laughing hysterically from the first minute,” says junior, Elia Turner. “Obviously Shakespeare is going to be a little off the rails since it’s old and there aren’t any limitations, but I was not expecting all of that to apply to a high school play.”
Despite it’s hilarity and vulgarity, the production also encompassed the extreme influence that William Shakespeare holds, as well as the simple truths that his writing reveals in human life. Undeterred by his role as a teenager, uneducated of the poet’s works, Logan Booth executed a strong and emotional recital of a Shakespearean monologue which was greeted heavily by the audience’s applause.
The final act of the play was a portrayal of Hamlet, played multiple times in order to discover how quickly the actors could complete it and to beat their previous time. In addition, their arrangement of Hamlet was also acted out in reverse order, with Liam Shannon acting as the ghost of Hamlet’s and uttering an iconically unenthusiastic “reverse boo” (oob!).
Toby Dervartanian, one of the lead actors in “Shakespeare (abridged),” expresses the process behind the production: “Because it is only a cast of four, there was a lot to memorize. It was exhausting to perform and took a long time to get the blocking down. Once it was done, however, it was one of my favorite performances.”
The entire production was one of great measures, fitting 36 complete works of Shakespeare into two hours of humor and skillful storytelling. Thus, Mission’s tradition of the theatrical arts continues, just as you like it.