Havre Daily News
When audience members enter the Havre High School theater for this week's production of William Shakespeare's “Much Ado About Nothing,” they will be treated to a taste of Elizabethen London. The play's crew has constructed a replica of the Globe Theatre, home to Shakespeare's company of players.
The set, which is the largest ever built at HHS, even includes a balcony of gentlemen's boxes, where noblemen will be seated, facing the audience.
“The seats have a terrible view but they were there to be seen, not see the play,” HHS drama coach Jay Pyette said before Tuesday's dress rehearsal.
Pyette said every aspect of the original theater was duplicated including the color scheme and the dimensions.
The play opens Thursday night and will continue through Saturday, with all three shows starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $4 for adults, $3 for high school students and senior citizens and $2 for K-8 students.
Pyette said he has always wanted to do the play but never had the time to build the set. A crew of about 40 students began work on the set in January.
The play includes about 30 actors and five technical workers.
Senior Kyra Kaercher has participated in 10 Havre High plays as both an actor and crew member. Although the backstage crew doesn't get the recognition the actors receive, she said she enjoys running the lights for the play.
“I love it. I have so much fun,” she said.
Sophomore Kristin Roll, who is working on the sound and costumes for the production, said she joined in the play because some of her friends were participants.
“I got sucked into the chaos,” Roll said as she prepared the sound board.
She now plans on majoring in drama when she attends college in a couple of years.
The play is the first for senior Karrina Holt, who acts as a dancer and townsperson. Holt said she is having a great experience in the play and is especially fond of her costume, in part because it was once worn by the Montana Actors' Theatre vice president.
“This is the dress Grant (Olson) wore when he was Juliet,” she said while showing off the lilac-colored frock.
For many of the actors, the play will be the last in their high school years, but all said they plan to continue acting.
Senior Joe Palmer has actied in MAT performances and 13 high school plays. He began acting after his younger brother became involved with the Montana Actors' Theatre, and now his father also acts in the plays.
“Once you catch the bug, you can't get rid of it,” Palmer said of his passion for acting.
He said he is known for getting hurt in productions, mostly during rehearsals. Palmer said he has fallen out of windows and been stabbed with various objects.
“You name it - I've been impaled by it,” he said.
Palmer, who portrays Claudio, said his favorite scene in “Much Ado About Nothing” is the kissing scene he shares with his girlfriend, junior Molly Proctor, who plays Hero. He said they have logged many hours of rehearsal.
Senior Michele Hockett, who acts as Beatrice, said the play has a “young and energetic cast.”
Hockett said she finds it easy to identify with her character, Beatrice.
“She is a lot like me. She's kind of bitter and sarcastic and she likes to joke around,” Hockett said.
Senior Luka Latkovich said his favorite part of the play is when his character, Benedick, thinks Beatrice is in love with him.
“It's a really funny and awkward situation,” he said.
Another senior, Andrew Dusek said his character, Dogberry, is crazy and over-the-top. Dusek said he takes some of his own traits and heightens them with sweeping gestures and other exaggerated visuals.
He said the play will appeal to those who are Shakespeare fans and those who don't quite understand the language because the play includes both slapstick comedy and subtle jest.
Even with the grueling hours of work on the set, the students said they are looking forward to tearing it down.
“They go down a lot faster than they come up,” Pyette said.