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Chantilly High Takes 'Much Ado' to the Folger Theater

Celebrating the works of Shakepeare, Chantilly High School participated in the Folger Shakespeare Festival in Washington, D.C. This annual festival is put on by the Folger Theater for students from the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., area to perform and enjoy watching others perform pieces of Shakespeare's great works.

Drama teacher Shannon Spicer chose and directed a scene — the party in Leonato's Hall — from "Much Ado About Nothing."

"This was the first work I directed here at Chantilly, since I just began teaching here in November. I have always loved the great variety of characters and the challenge of the comedic timing that is necessary to make this show work. I really lucked out with such an amazing cast of students for my first production, I was really impressed with their work," said Spicer.

Spicer chose to create this ball in a Mardi Gras theme, with beads, masks and extravagant costuming. "I really wanted to have fun with this and I knew that these characters had to be masked at points throughout the scene. I love the colors and individuality that the costumes, masks and people create at Mardi Gras. I really wanted to get that feeling of excitement and intensity on stage for the audience."

The cast consisted of 16 performers ranging from first-year drama students to fourth-year drama students. " The great thing about the Folger play, besides the cool costumes, was that the cast was all friends so we got along really well. It really helped during the rehearsals and performances to have people there that you knew were going to support you," said senior Martha Allison, who played the evil Don John.

Chantilly seniors John Bonner and Eva Krikscuin received two out of the eight awards given out for "Excellence in Acting."

Chantilly also received the "Brian Cabe" award for best overall performance. This award is given annually by the Folger Theater in remembrance of Brian Cabe, a young man who was dedicated to theater as well as the world of Shakespeare.

Normally, this award is given to an individual, but Chantilly was thrilled that the entire cast got to share in the honor. "We were so excited that we all had the honor of sharing such an amazing award. It made us feel really good to know that our overall performance was successful and it wasn't just an individual that stood out, it was all of us together," said senior Clint Herring, who played Bennedick.