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Shakespeare engages younger crowd

Young Shakespeare players Katie Hughes and Joe McClure perform a scene from "The Comedy of Errors" on Monday at the CVIC hall.
Jim Grant | The Record-Courier

Imagine being a twin to someone never encountered; imagine the mishaps and madness if those twins were to cross paths. That is what happens to two sets of twins in William Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors.” The play was embraced for Lake Tahoe’s Shakespeare Festival and was adopted for the DG Manchetti Young Shakespeare Program, which performed at the CVIC Hall in Minden on Monday.

The play tells the story of two sets of twin brothers who were accidentally separated at birth. After a shipwreck unintentionally unites the twins in the same city a series of wild mishaps based on accusations of identity, theft, madness, and demonic possession erupt with comical consequences as the twins and their friends and family try to uncover what is happening.

Shakespeare’s works can often be difficult to follow especially when introduced to the younger audience, that is why each performance by the D.G. Menchetti Young Shakespeare Program is only an hour long and the script is modified to appeal to the younger audience.

“We adopt whatever play the Lake Tahoe version is putting on and make it more family friendly and a fraction of the length,” said stage manager Stephanie McMullen.“The script is edited down so the younger audience can understand it and it’s a little more censored and engaging for the family setting.”

“It’s the interaction between the audience and the actors that makes this program special.”Stephanie McMullenStage manager

The D.G. Menchetti Young Shakespeare Program features fun and interactive plays for family audiences of all ages and introduces the works of William Shakespeare and the wonders of live theater.

During the performance kids waved sheets in the air to look like waves as the actors used puppeteers to show the shipwreck that begins the story.

The actors also danced and spoke to he audience as if they were part of the play.

“The difference between young Shakespeare and the one at the Lake, is the interaction and engagement with the audience,” said McMullen. “It’s the interaction between the audience and the actors that makes this program special.”

As being part of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival which is a nonprofit organization established for the cultural benefit and enjoyment of all residents and visitors, DG Manchetti Young Shakespeare Program focuses on introducing Shakespeare to the younger audience where the goal is to plan, produce and advocate cultural events while educating future generations on the importance of including theater, music and art in their everyday lives. It also gives young actors the opportunity to perform alongside more experienced ones.

“We use several local actors and professionals to give the younger actors the experience,” she said. McMullen said the young Shakespeare program travels with the Lake Tahoe group and perform within the communities around the area to bring more awareness to the production and to encourage the younger generations.

“It helps bring awareness not just to the Shakespeare festival but to the theatre and gives kids that opportunity to be a part of it,” she said.