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Appalachian Women’s Theatre Troupe presents “A Part Equal,” an original play as part of the High Country Shakespeare Celebration

BOONE—“A Part Equal,” an original play by Appalachian State University theatre faculty member Dr. Derek Davidson, will be performed April 4 – 6 in the intimate I.G. Greer Studio Theatre on campus. Performances will begin at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $5 for students and faculty and $8 to the general public and will be sold at the door one-half hour prior to each performance.

View larger imageThe Appalachian Women’s Theatre Troupe presents the original play “A Part Equal” April 4 – 6 in celebration of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. The production surveys the lives and works of prominent women. From left to right are student actors Emma Siplon, Rachel Leishman, Savannah Jae Core, Katelyn Sabet, and Fallon McKeon. Photo credit: Rachel LeishmanView larger imageFallon McKeon is among student actors performing in “A Part Equal” presented April 4 – 6 in I.G. Greer Studio Theatre at Appalachian State University. Photo credit: Rachel Leishman

Produced in conjunction with the High Country Shakespeare Celebration, “A Part Equal” is presented by the Appalachian Women’s Theatre Troupe, a newly formed campus club that produced Madeline George’s “The Most Massive Woman Wins” last semester in its inaugural production. Playwright Davidson was commissioned for the job of writing “A Part Equal” by the troupe in hopes of creating an entirely original play about women who were affected by the works of William Shakespeare.

“A Part Equal” surveys the lives and works of prominent women such as Virginia Woolf, Sarah Bernhardt, Fiona Shaw and Hallie Flanagan to determine how Shakespeare inspired them. Senior theatre major Megan Clauhs said of the play, “When we watch women perform Shakespeare today, they come to life differently than in Shakespeare’s time. This is largely due to the fact that women were not permitted on stage in that era when all female roles were played by boys and men. Now that women are representing themselves on the stage, these ladies become central characters rather than plot devices.”

True to the goals of the Appalachian Women’s Theatre Troupe, the entire production is student run. The play is directed by two graduating seniors, Paige Borden and Megan Clauhs, with art major Peter Nathaniel designing costumes and sophomore Sarah Duttlinger serving as stage manager. Theatre performance majors Molly Winstead and Kerstin Van Huss are dramaturges for this production, a responsibility vital to the success of a show wherein all characters are based on historical figures.

Carmen Lawrence, president of the Appalachian Women’s Theatre Troupe, said of the club, “We saw what other theatre groups were doing to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and we wanted to contribute. We considered cross-gender casting of a classic Shakespeare play, or reproducing certain scenes that struck us as feminist, but it didn’t seem like it was enough. Fortunately, we had the talents of an amazing playwright available to us.”

Davidson worked diligently to produce the script in time for the High Country Shakespeare Festival. “When these women came to me with this idea for a play, I wanted to support them and help them create something amazing to contribute to this discussion on Shakespeare. I was really excited to create something dynamic and historic that we could share with the community,” he said.

“It was an intense rehearsal process,” director Paige Borden commented, “because the script was still being written and revised. We worked with the script like it was another breathing member of the production team. We’ve done a lot of experimenting with the language and the characters and think we’ve been able to do justice to these powerful and historic women.”

The cast features Appalachian students Savannah Core, Sloane Hickson, Fallon McKeon, Emma Siplon, Rachel Leishman, Tyler Sullivan and Katelyn Sabet. They range from freshmen to seniors.

I.G. Greer Studio Theatre is located on the east side of I.G. Greer Hall below the auditorium, with a separate entrance on the side of the building. Parking is available on campus in faculty lots, the College Street parking deck near Belk Library and Information Commons and the Rivers Street parking deck.


Media contact

Rachel Leishman