Despite mix-up, P&W puts on a show

The One-Week Musical has long since established itself as one of Colby’s most beloved traditions. Auditions are typically held around the first day of classes, parts are cast immediately following, and a crew of enthusiastic theater-lovers work tirelessly for a little over a week to put together an exuberant, lively musical. The result is an exciting culmination of energy from the students involved, the whole Powder and Wig club, and the audience—and it’s all over by the time your professor assigns you your first paper.

This year however, there was an unfortunate mix-up involving the musical rights. According to Lily Fernald ’17, director of the production, “There was an issue with getting the rights for ‘Chicago’, where Powder and Wig was told they had them and then at the last minute, had to choose another show and dip into the public domain.” A lightning-speed turnaround ensued, and the result is something that the group had never done before: Shakespeare in one week.

“Love’s Labour’s Lost” is one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, involving mistaken identities, an abstinence pact, and some very typical Shakespearean witty banter between lords and ladies. “For the One-Week, Shakespeare is easier and much more adaptable as a script, so we could cut it and play with it as we liked,” said Fernald. “And we didn’t have to do three simultaneous rehearsals doing singing and acting and dancing, so I was able to spend more time with the cast.” 

Despite the unanticipated production, the event gathered a record number of 20 freshman as part of the cast and crew. “One of the best parts about the One-Week is that it really encourages freshmen to do theater at Colby, and this year has been really great for that because it’s been a great turnout,” said Thomas Kienzle ’16, who appeared in the show as the hysterical Don Adriano de Armado. When asked if the show attracted a different kind of student than would a musical, Kienzle said that “people who act but don’t sing or dance don’t get intimidated by Shakespeare [as they might with musicals]. The majority of the people in the cast still would have done it. Think Venn Diagram.” Fernald added, “I’m sure people were planning to audition for Chicago that didn’t, but the cast that auditioned was definitely ready to do Shakespeare and so willing and excited, and it definitely doesn’t feel like a backup.”

a&e670x400Is doing Shakespeare in one week more stressful than putting on a musical? Fernald explained, “It’s less stressful [than a musical]. The One-Week is never easy, but this year we don’t have any of the stress of choreographing full cast numbers or teaching songs, so none of that stuff complicates it.”

There was some disappointment from upperclassmen who have been part of the One-Week for their entire Colby careers. Carli Jaff ’16 said, “I was pretty bummed when I found out there wasn’t going to be a One-Week because I had done it for the past three years and was looking forward to being in it as a senior, especially because some of my favorite memories at Colby stem from being in the One-Week… But I like that they did something instead of not doing anything!”

The stark contrast between producing a straight play and a romp of a musical also caused some students to worry that the One-Week would lose some of its energy. Jack Flynn ’17 who ran the the soundboard, said that wasn’t the case. “[There’s] still lots of energy and passion because people are still able to connect with each other. [I] miss the musical a little, because it’s crazy and chaotic and fun, but this was an interesting thing to try out. It was unexpected, but a lot of good things came with it.”

The play itself was amazingly put together for such a short amount of time; everyone delivered their lines smoothly and without hesitation.  As for the aforementioned 20 freshmen? They did a marvelous job, seamlessly blending into the cast with excellent comedic timing, memorization, and confidence. Page Commons was packed, and laughter often drowned out lines. Along with a hysterical smattering of senior talent (Kienzle and Olivia Gould ’16), a smoothly abbreviated script, and a surprising appearance by some Russian dancers, “Love’s Labour’s Lost” was an incredible job well done by all. “As a director, I honestly was just ready to tackle the show, and my main focus was getting as many people as possible,” said Fernald. “We got a new group of people we might possibly have never gotten before. It was a great turn of events.”

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