New Shakespeare Directors Begin Rehearsals

Frances Evans

When it comes to the school’s Shakespeare and Company production every fall, tradition is viewed as an important part of the culture. Tom Jaeger has been the director of Shakespeare at Mount Greylock for years. For many people, he was an integral part of the experience. 

This year, though, two new leaders are replacing Jaeger. Lauren Russo and Naire Poole, who helped Jaeger out last year, will have to adapt to the challenges presented with this break from tradition.

This year, the play will be As You Like It. One of Shakespeare’s comedies, it centers around protagonist Rosalind, who will be played by three Mount Greylock students: senior Olivia McKeon, junior Emma Kate Hane, and first year Frances Evans. All three students will be in the same performance but appearing in different scenes in order to give a greater number of students roles in the play.

Rosalind’s love interest, Orlando, will be played by senior Kiersten Simpson and sophomore Alec Sills. Orlando’s brother, Oliver, will be played by junior Ché Guerra. 

Shakespeare participants said they are excited about the play choice but will miss Jaeger. Senior Hannah Chase, who plays the court jester Touchstone, said, “I love Tom, and he can never be replaced, but Naire [Poole] is literally an angel.” 

Poole and Russo hope to bring excitement into their first year as a directing duo. When asked about taking over for Tom, they said so many students knew him and had a deep connection with him. 

Shakespeare students have very positive reviews about their experience. Seventh grader Morris Israel said, “Everybody’s nice and really welcoming.” 

Despite the amazing environment, the show can get stressful, as it is a big time commitment. “But we pull through and take care of each other,” Sils said.  

“It’s a safe space to play and be silly,” senior Bella Jannini said.

Those not interested in acting but who still want to be a part of the Shakespeare community can participate in tech. Senior Cailean Fippinger, a member of Shakespeare for five years, is in charge of sound. “In the beginning, it’s a lot more chill [than acting].”

“It allows you to focus on the creative image. If you’re not a stage person, tech is going to be for you,” Fippinger said. 

As You Like It will be performed on the 11th and 12th of November at 7:00pm in the Mount Greylock auditorium. The play will also be performed at the 34th Fall Festival of Shakespeare at the Tina Packer Playhouse in Lenox in mid-November.

The cast and crew are already hard at work to make the performances the best they can be. “The tradition at this school is amazing,” said Russo. “Even though we are new, we can bring in our newer perspectives.”