Holy Cross CSS brings literature to life with ‘Shakespeare In Love: The Play’

Two students perform on stage

Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School presents three performances of the play ‘Shakespeare in Love’ from February 28 to March 1

Article from KawarthaNow

A group of Peterborough high school students are mounting the stage version of an award-winning film that was released before any of them were born and in the very same year their school was founded.

Students from grades 9 to 12 at Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School will present Shakespeare in Love for three public performances from February 28 to March 1 at the school, located at 1355 Lansdowne Street West in Peterborough.

Shakespeare in Love is a play by Lee Hall adapted from the 1998 film of the same name by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard. Starring Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth, Ben Affleck, Rupert Everett, and Judi Dench, the romantic comedy was a box office hit and garnered numerous awards, including the Academy Award for best picture along with six more Oscars.

As in the film, the play depicts a fictional love affair in 1593 London involving playwright William Shakespeare and Viola de Lesseps while Shakespeare was writing Romeo and Juliet. It premiered at the Noël Coward Theatre in London’s West End in 2014 and went on to play to sold-out audiences during the 2016 Stratford Festival season.

Taking on the lead roles in the Holy Cross production of Shakespeare in Love are Jonah Heuchert as William Shakespeare (played by Joseph Fiennes in the film) and Ella Doris as Viola de Lesseps (played by Gwyneth Paltrow in the film).

“Having been involved in the previous productions at Holy Cross, I am very excited to see how this show is evolving and being involved in a performance of this size is an overwhelmingly tremendous experience,” says Grade 12 student Doris in a media release. “I am looking forward to opening night and feel proud and grateful of the work that has been put in by the cast and crew. This has been a great experience to have in my senior year.”

The Holy Cross production also features Gracie-Lynn Hughes as Christoper Marlowe, Alara Rourke as Richard Burbage, Reuben De Leon as Philip Henslowe, Chloe McDermott as Ned Alleyn, and Holly Heuchert as Queen Elizabeth the First (played by Judi Dench in the film version).

Making her theatrical debut in Shakespeare in Love is Grade 9 student Xy Pascual.

“Being the only grade 9 (student) in this play is a bit stressful, but thankfully I have formed a new relationship with my castmates and I have been made more comfortable in stepping out of my comfort zone,” Pascual says. “I am already excited to be involved in the next Holy Cross production.”

The play is teacher Serena McKenna’s 24th production, and she is quick to acknowledge the work of staff members and students who are involved behind the scenes.

“Shakespeare said a good heart never changes, and I see this in the staff and students here,” she says. “We can always count on each other.”

Shakespeare in Love will be performed at Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School at 6:30 p.m. from Wednesday to Friday, February 29th to March 1st. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students and are available at the door.