The Crow’s Nest — Kenyon’s Shakespeare troupe — had great fun during October break: They hosted a 24-hour theater festival in which students reimagined, rehearsed and performed Shakespearean plays for an audience in the Black Box Theater. The days’ worth of theatrical hurly-burly resulted in performances that embraced imperfection and teemed with energy.
At 7 p.m. on Saturday, the Black Box Theater thronged with students. Stage managers rushed about, cramming chairs together to provide seating for everyone who attended. Considering that it was still October break and many students were off campus, the immense turnout was doubly pleasing.
The first play, directed by Kay Sitrin ’26 and written by Leah Beller ’26, reimagined Hamlet as a tragi-comedy murder trial in which Horatio (the defense attorney) and Hamlet (the accused) are smitten. Juniper Gibbs ’25, playing the prosecuting attorney Polonius, attempted to ruin Horatio’s case by presenting incriminating evidence of their love affair, but Vincent Penn ’26, playing Hamlet, responded to this accusation with a comedic performance: “First of all, I am not gay!” Penn was especially entertaining with his goo-goo eyes for Horatio, played by Megan Dellenbaugh ’26; his portrayal of Hamlet diverged from the original protagonist — Penn’s version was absent-minded and ditsy — and this served to significantly lighten the adaptation.
Following Hamlet, another set of actors entered the stage to perform Macbeth (written by Emma Rice ’26 and directed by Chiara Rothenberg ’25) through the eyes of Lady Macbeth writing letters to her husband. Charlotte Ruffine ’25 played a cold, calculating Lady Macbeth, and Derek Dean ’25 portrayed Lord Macbeth as a bumbling fool, flashing comedic grins at the audience. Arin Laycook ’25 acted in multiple roles, including Mcduff and the witches. Her performance was truly theatrical, complete with several dramatic faints.
Finally, writer Dorothy Yaqub ’26 and director Jack Roman ’23 completely reimagined Romeo and Juliet: the two lovers are already dead, and the parents, Capulet and Montague, are soliciting the same funeral home with the slogan “You stab ‘em? We slab ‘em!” Lucca Burgess ’26 played the apologetic and nonchalant receptionist who suggested a teen package joint funeral to the grieving parents, complete with rhinestone coffins. Sydney Goldstein ’24 as Montague and Marissa Kingsley ’25 playing Capulet swatted increasingly extravagant insults at one another until they bonded over their shared grief, much to the pleasure of the funeral receptionist, who remarked, “See how death brings all of us together?”
All three performances were met with much laughter and encouragement. While the performances were by no means polished — with many of the lines ad-libbed — and sometimes the actors even broke character and shared in a laugh, the spirit of the festival was incredibly supportive and exuberant. It was thoroughly enjoyable, and anyone interested in the Crow’s Nest should consider auditioning for their next Shakespearean performance.
Comments for this article have closed. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor for publication, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.