The goal: to get back on track with schoolwork and not get distracted by petty romantic interests.
The obstacle: a sudden appearance by some amazing girls.
This is the situation Prince Ferdinand, Lord Berowne, Lord Longaville, Lord Dumaine and Lord Hawthorne, 5 young scholars at the University of the Nine Worthies, found themselves in. To correct their predicament the young men, played by seniors Sean McDonough, B Mast, and Dawaun Hardy, sophomore Henry Morehouse and junior Nathan Kyn, swear off not only their juvenile pranks and tomfoolery but all women and any chance of love until they graduate.
Of course, since this is Shakespeare, they don’t exactly settle down and spend the remainder of their days studying. Their vow coincides with the visit of the princess of France (senior Rachel Speyer Bescanson) and her sorority sisters: Lady Rosaline (junior Izzy Schettino), Lady Maria (junior Dalia Glazman), Lady Katherine (sophomore Katie Suh) and Lady Anne (junior Maeve Forti). The young men quickly revert to their old immature selves around the ladies, with each of the five gentlemen falling in love with a different sorority sister.
Some try wooing the woman they are interested in covertly, but all of their efforts and attractions are revealed to each other in a climactic, humor-filled scene where one at a time the men emerge into a garden and confess their attractions out loud (some through intentionally out-of-tune singing). They then proceed to hide in a place that is visible to the audience but not necessarily the other men as the next lovelorn individual appears at the entrance and repeats the procedure. This already had the audience laughing wildly, but it only grew funnier as they revealed themselves to each other and quickly began devising justifications for breaking their anti-women vow.
This and other scenes, especially those which featured bumbling attempts to court the ladies, went to show that this was another very successful attempt to take the oft-intimidating language of Shakespeare and make it both funny and relatable for all members of the audience.
Another positive way they achieved these effects was by taking the characters and events out of the century Shakespeare wrote about them in and placing them in the 1920s instead. This allowed the production to incorporate the element of women’s rights and empowerment, as well as play on the glamourous party lifestyle which was a hallmark of the time period.
The play continued to build on its successes by exhibiting excellent attention to details, both in the immaculate set and the carefully planned costumes, which helped the audience to remember which lord was matched with which lady. For the men, their socks, bow ties and striped jackets were all of one color, and matched the color of their love interest’s top, dress stripe and later, ballroom mask.
By the end of the night, making great use of humor that ranged from subtle jokes through wordplay to physical comedy, the show proved that not matter how honest or fervent the efforts taken to avoid it are, nothing can stop true love.
Kendall McGowan can be contacted at [email protected]