Time in quarantine inspired a Georgia playwright to merge reality television with classic Shakespeare tales for a new play to be performed this week by Morgan County Middle School theater students.

“The idea came to the playwright Lea Marshall during quarantine,” explained Kathleen Bryant, MCMS Theater Director. “She and a friend were binge watching the Bachelor and she is also a Shakespeare scholar and enthusiast.”

Lea Marshall, a former teacher and playwright from Gwinnett County, penned the new play, “Shakespeare’s Bachelorette,” which spins iconic Shakespeare characters and tragedies into comedic renditions centered around reality TV scenarios.

“This play is perfect for quirky middle school actors and will be a lot of fun to watch,” said Bryant.

According to Bryant, the play will be performed by the 7th grade production class. The students usually audition the year before they enter 7th grade production, she said. The students were not able to audition last year but many of the actors joined the production class at the beginning of the school year.

“Students have done a good job negotiating the text of Shakespeare and actually wrote bios for their characters,” said Bryant.

Some of the most well known Shakespeare characters to make an appearance in the play include: Romeo, Othello, Iago, Portia, Puck and Kate.

Marshall met with MCMS theater students via Zoom to relay her vision for the play while holding a Question and Answer session with the cast. When asked how she came up with the idea, Marshall explained how she binge-watched The Bachelorette and began imagining Shakespeare’s stories told through the lens of the reality TV game show.

“This is the premier LIVE production of the show published through Theaterfolk,” explained Bryant. “Ms. Marshall has had a couple of schools livestream the play but this will be the first in-person production. Ms. Marshall is very excited to meet the cast in person and to see the play live on stage. Ms. Marshall also taught at Harbins Elementary in Gwinnett County in the 90’s and is excited to see some of her former teachers at the performance.”

The play will debut on Thursday, April 15 at 7 p.m. at the Morgan County Middle School auditorium, located at 1201 College Avenue in Madison. Admission is free. School officials ask attendees to be mindful of social distancing. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

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