Shakespeare cafe review

Middle College High School hosted its very own production on Friday, March 16 at the Shakespeare cafe. Entry was only $5 and included individual scenes from popular William Shakespeare plays, performed by the school’s Advanced Drama class. Among the plays were “Measure for Measure,” “Othello,” “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Richard the III,” and “Two Gentlemen of Verona.” Also a part of the production were monologues from “MacBeth,” “As You Like it,” “A Twelfth Night”, and the aforementioned “Two Gentlemen of Verona.”

The show started with a scene from “Measure for Measure” by junior Zinedin Alvarado and senior Giana Bahena. The acting was good from both actors, and some well timed outbursts come to mind that gave a good jolt. The second was a monologue by junior Denise Resindez, from a crucial point in “Hamlet.” The actress showed great emotion and commitment to the part; it was very energetic and crazed as it should’ve been, given the context of the scene. At a point I felt the need to leave the room being in fear of being attacked by this actress as she physically interacted with the audience. This was one of the best presentations from the cafe, and the actress must be commended for her commitment to the role. The third performance was from “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” starring junior Walter Uriostegui, and seniors Ethan Valentin and Ivonne Cortes. This act was one of the best too, as it was brought to life by two very good actors into the modern world with a relatable place people know of. Both main actors worked great with their dialogue and acting showing simplicity in their speech, yet great skill.

The next show included a monologue from “Twelfth Night,” by senior Elisa Olivares. The only nitpick to have was the fast pace; otherwise, the rest checks out for this performance. Following up was a scene from “Richard II,” brought to life by senior John Lara, junior Fernando Estrada, senior Guadalupe Santana, and senior Albert Cruz. This play sits in the middle, having two very strong actors. Overall, the two actors really shined through their dialogue and acting, pulling the other two upwards. The next scene was a different part from “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” with a different actor; this time it was senior Cesar Ruelas holding his own. The acting displayed was impeccable and showed overall great volume, movement, and range of emotion. Even though this act only had one actor, it was quite strong.

Juniors Tais Avila and Grace Elson were in the performance of “Othello.” For this scene the dialogue and mood fit the late night theme it was going for. Following up from that was an ambitious scene from “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” In it were senior Lorena Matias, junior Jonathan Vargas, junior Eduardo Velasquez, and senior Daniel Luna. This scene was probably a favorite among the audience as it felt the most enjoyable. The overall performance showed great skill in acting by how well the actors were capable of physical interaction with one another, and showing their great prowess of dialogue as it went along fluently. Being a Shakespeare comedy helped the group go all out with their movements and emotion. Finishing off the Shakespeare Cafe was another scene from “Othello,” this time performed by seniors Carlos Lopez and Melina Diaz. This act was quite exceptional sitting near the upper-half behind the greatest acts. Carlos had a good sense of capturing his character’s dialogue through his acting and showed great skill. His partner Melina definitely wasn’t bad by any means either, because the emotion of the scene could not be reached without her inclusion.

All in all, Middle College’s Shakespeare Cafe proved to bring out some great drama performances. Most exceptional and some that could use improvement, but still nothing to brush off. The money to enjoyment ratio was well worth the investment, as it was greatly directed and organized by Mrs. Silverstein and her class. A special thanks to the servers as well who, in between plays, served the audience in a rapid and efficient manner.