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Bridgeport Youth Play Key Roles In CT Free Shakespeare's 'Shrew'

Ct Free Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew" will feature several Bridgeport youth working behind the scenes.
Ct Free Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew" will feature several Bridgeport youth working behind the scenes. Photo Credit: Contributed photo

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A recent theater graduate, five Bridgeport students studying at the Regional Center for the Arts and a young actor are all part of the team working with CT Free Shakespeare in this week's production of "The Taming of the Shrew."

One team member is Ken’Twon Goodchild Watson, a recent graduate of Southern Connecticut State College with a degree in theater arts. This is his fourth year with CFS, and the former technical intern is now supervising the CFS Intern Program.

The intern program (in conjunction with WorkPlace Inc.) helps young people develop specific, technical theater job skills as well as the practical insights, attitudes and experiences needed to pursue a career in technical theater. It allows students to grasp theater firsthand by working with professional actors and technical staff.

Technical Theater Interns — who include five Bridgeport students from the Regional Center for the Arts — are assisting in the actual running of CFS’s summer main stage show.

Technical Intern Alexis Charles will be entering 11th grade this fall at Central Magnet High School. She has been working on scenery and on the production’s sound. Her recent favorite theater credits include stage managing "Orpheus," along with contributions to the short film "Terminal 21" as location scout and casting director.

Another intern is Deja Davis, who was an assistant stage manager for Metamorphosis at RCA.

Jahmelia Jarrett is also entering 11th grade this fall at Central Magnet High School. Jahmelia started acting during this past school year at RCA and most recently performed in "Farewell, Welcome."

Sarah Williams has been training in acting for the past year at Bunnell High School in Stratford, where she will be entering 10th grade this fall. She made her debut on stage in a showcase for RCA playing Tina in "Lucas Hnath Death Tax." She later played Cookie at RCA in "Katori Hall’s Hurt Village."

Jonathan Falcon always wanted to became a police officer and still plans to fulfill that goal when he’s 21. But now he is studying technical theater with CFS.

Acting Intern Patrick Setiadi is returning to CFS for a second year. He is an Actors’ Equity Actor and played an ensemble role in last year’s production of "Mornings of April and May." Patrick will play the servant Nathaniel this year and is understudying the role of Hortensio. Some of Patrick’s previous work was in "Almost Maine," "Deathtrap," the world premiere of "Prospect High: Brooklyn" and "12 Angry Jurors." He graduated from Central High School and now is a freshman at Fairfield University majoring in theatre arts.

"Taming of the Shrew" will be performed on the grounds of the American Shakespeare Festival Theatre in Stratford on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 to 10 pm.

The play is appropriate for all ages, including the very, very young. Actors are courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.

It is traditional for attendees to picnic before the show. There will be music by Jazz for the Spirit on the lawn from 6 to 8 p.m. courtesy of Festival! Stratford.

Taming of the Shrew is Shakespeare’s most boisterous comedy, and Artistic Director Ellen Lieberman says that this adaption is CFS’ silliest production to date. “It is all about love. It is joyful!”

This year, CFS found an ally in Matt Catalano of Stratford, a theater professional who believes that a town named Stratford has a duty to honor the greatest playwright of all time.

“Particularly on the occasion of the 400th year anniversary of his death,” he said. Catalano is executive producer of Festival! Stratford 2016 and associate producer of "Taming of the Shrew."

Connecticut Free Shakespeare (CFS) was founded in 2000 as an offshoot of Dandelion Productions. It is a nonprofit theater company whose mission is to produce free-to-the-public professional works of classical theater in an accessible, skillful, imaginative American style that honors the playwright's language and intentions and that crafts these plays with a 21st-century sensibility.

For more information, go to www.ctfreeshakespeare.org or facebook.com/CT Free Shakespeare .

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