They have a bead on the Bard in Shepherdstown

August 04, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Shakespeare might have written "The Tempest" as a way of examining serious adult subjects like romantic love and hatred, but a group of children and young adults perform the play this month in Shepherdstown.

Twenty-three local children and young adults from West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland participate in this year's Shakespeare Generation production as cast and crew.

Erik Anderson, 21, of Frederick, Md., the director of "The Tempest," said that everyone involved in the play does a little bit of everything: costuming, set building, advertising and more.

"We open people up to the entire theater experience," he said.

Shakespeare Generation was organized in 2000 because local teenagers decided there wasn't enough opportunity for young people who wanted to be involved with theater, Anderson said.


Now the acting troupe is financially independent and works with a $400 budget for each show, said Sarah Pearson, 19, the producer.

Auditions for this summer's production were held in late May. Rehearsals started June 2 and continued three days a week, Anderson said.

Four or five cast and crew members are new to Shakespeare Generation this summer.

Caitlin Fillmore, 11, of Kearneysville, W.Va., earned the only female role in the play despite a lack of acting experience. "This is the first year I've ever done anything of this sort," she said.

She learned her lines easily because she is good at memorizing things, but she said she is nervous about forgetting her lines and her cues.

Caitlin, who is home-schooled, said she likes being with all the people involved in the play and making friends.

Faith Whitacre, 21, of Shepherdstown has been involved with Shakespeare Generation "on and off" since the beginning, she said. "The Tempest" is her last play with the troupe because 21 is the cutoff age for Shakespeare Generation participants.

She has come back for years because, "I love the whole thing ... coming together with a group of people and putting together a piece of art," she said.

Georgia Musselwhite, 9, plays one of the harpies, which she said is fun because she gets to act scary. This is her second year with Shakespeare Generation.

"I did it last year and made a lot of friends. I wanted to see them again," she said. Hearing the applause after the play is the best part, Georgia said.

She also has learned a lot by performing in plays, things like "not to be too shy and to do things that you've never done before," she said.

If You Go

When: 8 p.m. today and Saturday and Aug. 11 and 12; 3 p.m. Sunday and Aug. 13

Where: The Station at Shepherdstown, Audrey Egle Drive, Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Cost: $8 for adults, $4 for children (group rates available)

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