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Keene students to perform Shakespeare

KEENE VALLEY - Keene Central School's auditorium will feel more like the Globe Theatre next week when students there present their production of William Shakespeare's play, "Much Ado About Nothing."

Joy McCabe and Bob Andrews direct the Shakespearian comedy that features 23 students in grades 9-12 as actors.

"Much Ado About Nothing" follows the antics of Don Pedro, a prince who arrives victorious from battle in a Sicilian seaside village with his men, Claudio and Benedick. Claudio rekindles his love for Hero, the only daughter of the village's governor, and the two quickly make plans to marry.

First, however, Claudio and Hero attempt a scheme to trick her cousin, Beatrice, and Benedick into confessing love for one another. Meanwhile, the jealous Don John, the prince's illegitimate brother, works to derail the coming wedding. A series of deceptions create tensions that ultimately resolve to a joyous ending.

"I've always wanted to do it because it's one of Shakespeare's plays that has tragedy, comedy, music and drama," said McCabe.

And it's the play's music that will be particularly unique in this production. Local musician Chris Kowanko lent his hand to setting lyricized songs in the play to music. Six student musicians perform Kowanko's arrangements as the songs are sung, coincidentally, by his daughter, Anna.

Also, two student directors, Brittany Guerin and Kayla Hebert, have assisted in the production.

"In our small school, it is somewhat expected that everybody will be involved," McCabe said, noting that different responsibilities are available to most every student. "I think they take a lot of pride in the fact that this is their show; this is the high school show."

McCabe noted the arduous task of delivering the lines of a Shakespearean play in a way that audience members can appreciate the often subtle jokes, but said that the cast is well-prepared for the challenge.

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