SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va., — This Spring semester, Shepherd University’s theatre troupe The Rude Mechanicals will be taking on the five short plays: Mankind, Joseph’s Wedding and three versions of The Woman Taken in Adultery.
Dr. Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Ellzey, English Chair of Shepherd University and the director of the troupe, has unified these plays in the theme of diversity.
“All five of the plays to some degree deal with diversity, so there is something that ties them all together.”
After being asked if it would be difficult to direct five plays at one time, Ellzey laughed while being quoted saying “I don’t think so. They’re all short plays. Mankind is not quite an hour; Joseph’s Wedding is half an hour and The Woman Taken in Adultery plays are only 15 minutes each.”
Ellzey hand selected these plays in particular as each, with the exception of Mankind, will be performed outside of Shepherd College.
The Rude Mechanicals will be making their third trip to Florida on March 13th, as they have been invited by New College Co-chair Nova Mayhill to perform at The New College Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
“I was interested in Joseph’s Wedding because it’s 16th century Spanish play based on a Jewish romance during the time of the Inquisition.”
Ellzey will also be leading her troupe to Wilson College in Pennsylvania on Feb. 29th to be the keynote presentation at the college’s conference of the humanities where the Rude Mechanicals will be preforming The Woman Taken in Adultery plays.
“It [the plays] address issues of bullying and violence against women, against racial minorities and the LGBTQ community.”
Though it won’t be leaving Shepherd’s campus, Mankind is still making its mark in the realm of diversity as the play humorously explores the morality of man as he is torn between God and the Devil.
“It’s a really comical play filled with sexual jokes and excrement jokes. I think the audience will enjoy it.”
Alumni Adam Wilson, who will be playing the title character of Joseph in Joseph’s Wedding, Chorus in Mankind and have involvement in The Woman Taken in Adultery says that he is most excited to be in the latter of the plays.
“It has a lot of physical aspects and it is very emotional to perform.”
Wilson, remarked that the blending of serious and humorous will provide a balance for audiences as they take in the themes presented.
“I know that I personally wouldn’t want to just go out and have a night of strong negative emotions towards any form of entertainment.”
English senior Lauren Harvey, who will be playing the Angel in Joseph’s Wedding, Nowadays in Mankind and will have involvement in The Woman Taken in Adultery said that she was up to the task of commanding four roles at once.
“Yeah, it’s a little bit stressful since I have a whole bunch of classes this semester but I think I can handle it.”
Harvey mentioned that she hopes to get the part of the gender non-conforming character in the LGBTQ version the adultery play.
“It will be a way for me to come out as genderfluid to my family and friends.”
Lydia King, who plays Zenobia in Joseph’s Wedding, Mercy European in Mankind and will also have involvement in the adultery plays said that she was ready to preform at her best for the audiences of Shepherd University.
“I am very excited to take on the multiple plays as once, there is never a dull moment and I love to push myself.”
And for all of those new to Shepherd or looking for way to join in on the fun, King highly suggests joining The Rude Mechanicals next semester.
“I definitely would encourage others to join the Rude Mechanicals, performing Renaissance and Medieval drama is an experience like no other.”
Shepherd University performances are still to be announced.