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Eola Shakes Up Shakespeare

Students at the alternative school make a classic <i>rock</i>

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Eola students Shawn Solazzo, Jorge Lopez, Josh Biles and Crystal Luciano run through a scene during a dress rehearsal for Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night."

"If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction."

Fabian, in Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night."

EOLA -- It's your typical tale of love between a man, a woman dressing as a man, and a woman. Only not that simple.

"I'm a twin and they don't like women, so I pretend to be a guy," said Eola Alternative School junior Summer Beshore.

"I end up falling in love with the duke of the enemy country and it's just a big mess."

Eola students will prove William Shakespeare was the Jerry Springer of his time when they present the comedy "Twelfth Night."

The students have done the audience the favor of translating the play's Shakespearean English into something more understandable for today's ears. In the process, some of the Bard's racier lines became clearer.

A little too clear, in fact, for a school production. "We had to take out some of the jokes," Beshore explained.

But the Eola players didn't stop at just clearing up the iambic pentameter. They created a modern soundtrack for added punch.

And somehow, the marriage between Limp Bizkit and Elizabethan prose makes sense.

In Shakespeare's time, Beshore's character would have been played by a man pretending to be a woman pretending to be a man. Ah, acting!

At Eola, they remove one step. And between scenes, the Queen of Soul belts out "You make me feel like a natural woman," for those who still need a hint.

Or the Eagles sing about a "Witchy Woman" who's got the moon in her eye.

Classic theater. classic rock.

The themes in "Twelfth Night" go on through the ages, said Matt Power, though the characters change. "This brings it into modern day theory."

Power plays Sir Toby Belch, a man who manipulates a simple, rich friend to get beer money. "There's always some form of a promise, always some form of `I'm perfect.'

"There's always jealousy. There's always comedy."

Power enjoys the funny aspects of Sir Toby Belch. "He's a happy kind of guy. It's easy to act happy."

Perhaps the loudspeakers grinding out "Good Vibrations" helped Power get into character. Whatever it was, Power went at it with enough vigor to break a prop sword during the April 15 dress rehearsal.

"I think that's the third or fourth one I've broken."

Though the grand themes never change, the weaponry must evolve.

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