Poetry to Plays

Improv at its Finest for Poetry to Plays Elective

On Saturday, senior English elective “Poetry to Plays” went to see The Improvised Shakespeare Company at the Ready Room. The company started the show by asking the audience to provide them with the name of a play that Shakespeare never wrote. They then use that suggestion to improvise a complete 5-act play in the style of the Bard. The audience responded with “Thrice on a Tuesday,” which the company then created right on-stage over the next hour and fifteen minutes.

After a brief prologue, in free verse, linking the days of the week to the various stages of a relationship—starting with the birth of new love on Sunday and its death on “Sadder-day”—, the audience was introduced to young lovers Antonio and Emilia who had recently exchanged love notes and were looking for a path to the chapel. Meanwhile, Antonio’s best friend and confirmed bachelor Lorenzo attempted to avoid that same fate before finally falling to the wiles and wooing of recently widowed Bianca. The major impediment to the love of that second pair is the nefarious Benvolio, Bianca’s ex-husband who had recently faked his death in order to avoid paying his debts to Duke Stefano.

Rounding out the cast were a quartet of singers practicing their new song, “To Find Love You’ve Missed, Take One Step Back,” Balthazar, the Duke’s loyal servant who meets his demise delivering invitations to the Duke’s ball to all of Italy, and “cool priest” Brother Marco, who prefers to go by “Brother M” and is always willing to engage the Devil in a rap battle for the soul of his flock.  The play ended with a triple marriage on the titular Tuesday: Antonio to Emilia, Bianca to Lorenzo and Benvolio to his bachelorhood. Truly, “the course of love never did run smooth,” but this series of entanglements was even less smooth than advertised.

Seniors stayed around after the show to talk to performers Joey Bland, Blaine Swen and Brendon Dowling about their preparation and process of creation.

This opportunity was also made possible by The John H. Barker ’83 Family Fund. Alicia and John Barker ’83, on the occasion of John’s 25th MICDS reunion, established The John H. Barker ’83 Family Fund to celebrate student literary accomplishments. The fund has been used in the past to support creative writing contests, the student literary magazine Greenleaves, and visits by guest authors. This unique learning experience is yet another example of the consistent, enduring, high-quality impact that endowed funds like The John H. Barker ’83 Family Fund have on our students at MICDS.