The Shakespeare Festival presented a thrilling Take Two of Shakespeare. 

For two days, the Minor Latham Playhouse hosted the King’s Crown Shakespeare Troupe (KCST) as they performed selections from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sonnet 130, King Lear, King John, The Tempest, As You Like It, Richard III Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Taming of the Shrew, and Romeo and Juliet. The exciting program sought to bring “the imagination of Shakespeare into the modern world and combine ingenious pieces of his creations into a single two-hour long story,” writes dramaturgs Jonathan Pankauski (SEAS 2nd Year Ph.D.) and Seoyoung Choi (CC ’26).  

The night began with Eleanor Babwin (BC ’24), executive producer, setting the tone for what was going to be a groundbreaking and (un)serious modern take on Shakespeare. The first act on stage followed a monologue from Act I, Scene I of Richard III, performed by Eli Baum. Following that, was Act III, Scene II of King Lear where he is “left to fend for himself in the biting rain with naught but his loyal Fool.” Sarah Tabak (BC ’27) was King Lear, Alex Prezeau as Fool, and Rutva Narayanan as Kent. 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act III, Scene II, directed by Emmanuelle Stith and assistant directed by Thais Velazquez’s (BC ’26) Act III Scene II came onto the stage with a completely enchanting clash as “two men fight for the right to woo.” All paired with the most brutal and heart-wrenching duel scene. Everyone laughed, including me. 

Then was a mashup remix of As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet directed by Josh Kazali (CC ’25), with Eli Baum as Orlando/Romeo, Evan Rossi (CC ’26) as Oliver, Sarah Tabak as Rosalind/Mercurio, Maria Levitt as Phoebe, and Miles Wiedmann (CC ’27) as Silvius. Completely original (obviously) with folly and frenzy, Kazali remapped the characters. Julius Caesar, directed by Sudheshna Khadka (BC ’26) had Henry Nuñez’s (CC ’27) Brutus and Josh Martin’s (CC’25) Antony in a high-school debate-style crossfire as they performed their dramatic odes to the slain Caesar and each other. 

Sonnet 13, directed by Andres F. Arevalo Zea and performed by Illiana Weisburg stunned with a rather (un)pleasant reimagination of Shakespeare’s mistress, before a hilarious as Sofia DeSanto’s Petruchio storms on stage with a sly “motherwit” that left the audience rolling their heads backward in laughter. 

After the largest crew performed on stage for Midsummer Night’s Dream Act V Scene I, directed by Abigail Fixel (BC’26) and Andreas F. Arevalo Zea (CC ’26), featuring Isabel Mavidres-Calderon as Flute, Miles Wiedmann as Bottom, Iliana Weisberg (BC ’27) as Snout, Gabriella Calabia as Starveling, Sparrow Greene (BC ’26) as Snug, Esther Bankole (CC ’27) as Quince, Meritt Johnson as Theseus, Andres F. Arevalo Zea as Demetrius, Thais Velazquez as Lysander, and Abigail Fixel as Hippolyta, the festival concluded with an epilogue from As You Like It, directed by Olivia Dwyer (CC ’26) and Wren Pfetcher as Rosalind. 

Across ten scenes and three monologues, The Shakespeare Festival featured a creative team composed entirely of student directors, managers, producers, and actors, along with a dynamic design team, which included costume (Mila Tabach), sound (Sofía Rodríguez (BC ’24), Sopia Mariano (BC ’27), Laura Ziessler), lighting (Alice Lin (SEAS ’ 27), Emily Kim (BC ’24)), and props (Jon Pankauski, Octavio Vourvoulias (CC ’24)) that made this program possible from scratch. Sophie Simons (BC ’25) is the current president of KCST. 

The troupe has been providing free Shakespeare to the Morningside Heights/Harlem community since 1995.

If you are interested in learning more about and/or supporting KCST, click here.

Theater via Bwarchives