WSC Theatre prepares for fall show


Aarhon Young

The acting troupe listens to a story told by Abe (Dakota Schroll) while resting. “How Shakespeare Won the West” opens Thursday night at 7 in the Black Box Theatre. It runs through Sunday.

Erika Schwartz, Staff Writer

The Wayne State College Theatre Department is putting on the annual Black Box Theatre show, “How Shakespeare Won the West,” this upcoming weekend.

The play was written by Richard Nelson and tells the story of a group of actors who pioneered westward performing Shakespearean shows during the 1840s California Gold Rush.

“I read lots of different plays,” director Mollie Spieker said. “I loved this one because it is based on real events. I loved how there are many parts where the actors tell stories directly to the audience, I also think it is a good fit for the Black Box.”

Additionally, Spieker said this particular Shakespearean play will be more accessible for the audience and uses understandable language.

“How Shakespeare Won the West” will be Spieker’s first time directing a play at WSC, although she has been involved with the Theatre Department for many years, and has directed community and high school plays.

“This play talks about how popular Shakespeare was at this time,” Spieker said. “It didn’t matter if you were educated or uneducated, rich or poor, everyone had a copy of a Shakespeare play on their mantel.”

There are 15 students who are part of the cast, two students on the crew and three in the pit orchestra. Although Spieker is the official director of the play, most of the preparation for production was initiated by the students. Theatre classes built the set and hung the lights as an assignment for credit as well as a great hands-on learning experience.

“The whole production is academically based,” Spieker said. “The students have been working out problems and fixing things as we go—as any college theatre should.”

In addition to building the set and working out the lighting, the students also collected the costumes on their own. They rummaged through the college’s assortment of costumes, searched the costume shop in Pierce and even raided their own closets for pieces that would add to the atmosphere of the show.

“I have been really pleased with this group of students. They are really dedicated. It has been a pleasure working with them,” Spieker said.

The Theatre Department also produces a children’s show in the spring, conducts the Haunted Trail during Halloween and cultivates Drama Club.

“This show is unpredictable, interesting, musical and even involves faculty members,” Spieker said. “Art can tie us all together—no matter what our culture is, what our race is—it helps us find something in common.”

“How Shakespeare Won the West” is showing in the Black Box Theater on Nov. 17-19 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 20 at 3 p.m.