Minimalist Productions Encourage Creativity


Mindy Luo, Staff Writer

Drama 2 and Advanced Drama participated in the annual “Shakefest” performance, a program that invites drama groups from each school in the Acalanes district to perform for each other, at Las Lomas on January 23.

In preparation, students are usually asked to produce a short production of a famous scene from a Shakespeare classic. However, this year, participating teachers elected to broaden the scope of the program to include additional dramatic works.

According to Drama teacher Chris McNevin, the purpose of the change was to provide “variety.”

The 3 participating groups from Campolingo chose to use scenes from The Crucible and A Streetcar Named Desire.  Both are famous 20th century American productions.

Other options included Angels of America, Children’s Desire, and Raisin in the Sun.

“Since there were only 5 plays to choose from, a lot of people did the same plays,” said senior Andrew Price. “It’s interesting seeing everyone’s different takes on it, like what scenes they selected or which character’s perspective they emphasized.”

Actors are only allowed to wear black clothing and use 4 chairs in creative ways to establish a setting. According to McNevin, this requirement encourages creativity. “How they used the chairs was mind-blowing,” he said. “I saw students use the chairs as beds, fight-scene weapons, and even towers. It was really special.”

At Shakefest, 2 groups from each school performed on the “main stage.”  The remainder of students participated in various workshops where they were able to perform for a smaller audience. They were also provided feedback from the more experienced “main stage” groups.

McNevin believes Shakefest is a positive way for drama students from various schools to interact. “If they get inspired and become more serious about acting, it can challenge them to do better to match that level of what they see in front of them,” he said.

“Getting to hear the opinions of more experienced drama students is cool because they aren’t regular students. They have been working on these plays for a long time too, so they understand the process better,” agreed sophomore McKenna Muller, a drama 2 student. 

According to McNevin, Shakefest will continue alternating between Shakespeare plays and non-Shakespeare plays.