First Stage Classical Company Class

Last night, A.J. and I went down to the MYAC to see a performance by the First Stage Theater Academy’s Classical Company Class called A Great Reckoning in a Small Room. Wow! What an incredible night of classical theatre. The twenty seven high school aged performers were amazing. The directors, Jim Tasse and Brian Gill, discussed how the class last year focused just on the works of Shakespeare. This year, they expanded the study to include works from many of the Elizabethan and Jacobean playwrights. They humorously referred to this as a “Jacobethan” work. The performance was about an hour and a half long and contained 31 small scenes from playwrights like William Shakespeare, Thomas Middleton, Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe and others.

In a previous post, I had indicated that I was amazed by the performance of another one of the academy’s company class. I actually think that this class was even better. It took a few minutes to adjust our brains to understand the Elizabethan style of speech. The actors and actresses were all dressed in black and barefoot and used props when only necessary. Their depth of emotion and understanding of the dialogue was amazing. I was also impressed by how they controlled their bodies while on stage as well as entering and leaving each scene.

I’ve said this before but it bears mentioning again. Although his modesty prevents him from acknowledging this, John Maclay is to be commended for his stewardship of this fantastic theatre arts training program. He and his staff have put together an excellent program that really helps the kids to shine. Keep up the great work.

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