Shakespearean Troupe Performs at EHS

The only traveling Shakespeare troupe in West Virginia–The Rustic Mechanicals–paid a visit to Elkins High School on October 27th, 2022 to perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The play was a comedy that was about an hour and a half in length. To keep the students engaged, the performers interacted with the audience in creative ways; such as having them hold props, making the audience shout for them in certain scenes, and even dressing up one of the students to play a wall. They also sang songs and had the students dance with them.

Overall, the play was enjoyable to watch. “It was extremely funny,” said Jessica, one of the students who attended the show. “I expected the humor, since I saw their last play, but it was on a whole different level of comedy than I had expected. The humor fits the highschool. They did a good job of making sure the audience would understand it and that it would be relatable [to the students]. They took it from a ten to a twelve on this play.”

The Rustic Mechanicals take the stage at Elkins High School.

Kaelyn, another student, had expected the play to be dull. “It wasn’t as boring as normal plays are,” she told me. “It was actually funny and not humor from 400 years ago. It felt more modern.”

Following the play, two members of the troupe hosted a workshop with students that had attended show to teach them more about Shakespeare and how he performed his shows. “[The Rustic Mechanicals] made sure that the language of his [Shakespeare’s] time does not die,” said Cherokee, one of the attendees of the lecture. “[It] showed his drama is still relevant today and how students can learn off it.”

After the workshop, Samantha Huffman and Dr. Jim Matthews, who is also a Professor of English at Fairmont State University shared about their experiences performing and educating students about Shakespeare. “The most we get out of these plays is being able to get the audience to interact and feel like they are more than just viewing,” said Huffman.“It helps them be more a part of the show, in a sense.” For Matthews, “Shakespeare is the Mount Everest of drama”.

The Rustic Mechanicals concluded their fall tour of Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream last weekend with their final performance at the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center in Clarksburg.