Thanks to some creative work by the Montezuma-Cortez High School Theatre Troupe, however, that’s what happened, as the characters sported cowboy hats and western dresses took the stage at the M-CHS auditorium.
The play was staged at the M-CHS theatre on Nov. 7 and Nov. 14 and twice on Nov. 8 and Nov. 15. More than 50 students helped make the production possible.
Based on the classic “Twelfth Night” plot, the troupe’s performance showcased a complex love story involving multiple characters and several exciting twists.
Leading the cast was Erica Cudkowicz, who, wearing a Western dress and a black veil, played the character of Olivia to perfection.
“At first, the idea of staging Shakespeare as a Western was strange to me, especially since we were keeping the original characters and dialogue, but in the end it turned out pretty well” said Cudkowicz. “Memorizing the lines was challenging.”
Also playing a key role was Kyle Miller, who played Sheriff Orsino. Tasked with playing a character obsessed with Olivia, Miller said that his experience in the show was both challenging and gratifying.
“We went through old Western movies and looked at the designs they had for those,” said Miller. “It’s amazing. (The cast) was awesome, and it was great to spend time with them.”
In addition to the cast’s acting, a complex set that included three rooms, a staircase to a second floor and a campfire, captivated audience members of all ages.
According to stage crew member Tyler Valdes, nearly every member of the cast and crew worked for weeks to make the set possible.
“We had to wire the dimmer switch so we could light the campfire,” said Valdes. “The hardest part of building the set was the painting. Our teacher, Mr. Sandner, spent entire weekends working on it on his own. I’d like to thank him for that.”
In addition to working on the set, Sandner directed play and wrote lyrics to songs that were sung by four narrators at different points in the play.
“I wrote lyrics to summarize key elements of the story and set them to Western folk songs,” said Sandner. “Our narrators became the bridge between modern audiences and Shakespearean text. One of our narrators, Liv Story, even learned to play guitar for the role.”
With “Twelfth Night” now complete, the M-CHS drama department will turn its attention to staging its next show, which will occur in January. According to Sandner, auditions to fill the show’s five roles were held last week.