The Phoenix Players hit the outdoor stage on May 20th and 21st for their second open-air production: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), London’s longest-running comedy written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield.
Directed by Ms. Gipson and Dr. Borkowski, the cast offered the audience a place on the edge of their seats, plenty of belly laughs, and abundant audience-participation through this fast-paced compilation of all of Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. The cast of only ten did an incredible job covering a wide breadth of characters and genres.
This was the final performance as part of the Phoenix Players for seniors Brigid Duffy, Mai Chi Le, Annabelle Pappas, Samuel Reisfeld, and Hao (Hank) Yang. Brigid’s soliloquy in the second act left the audience in awe. Mai Chi’s stage presence blossomed as she played a Ophelia in Hamlet. Annabelle brought numerous characters to life through her impassioned performance, such as the announcer in the football game involving the kings from Shakespeare’s histories and the tongue-tied Lavinia from Titus Andronicus. Samuel’s rendition of Romeo was charmingly comical. And Hank’s Wikipedia-inspired introduction kicked off the audience’s chuckling right from the start of the play.
The experienced seniors were not the only ones who stole the show. Underclassmen were critical to the success of the production. Sophomore Danielle Lionel led the full cast in a Shakespearean rap and Nayeli Orellana ‘24 hosted a mini cooking show inspired by Titus Andronicus. Ellie Mullen ‘25 showcased supreme puppet acting skills, Ava Ricard ‘25 was a particularly compelling Claudius, and Cameron Katz ‘25 gave his all in repeated sword battles and dramatic deaths.
As if audience members were not immersed in the play enough, some were even called to participate themselves. In the Friday evening performance, audience member Mary Ruddock ‘25 was called up from out of her seat to run laps around the other theater-goers, while Mrs. Woolston was chosen to deliver her best bloodcurdling scream on stage.
As stated in the playbill, the Phoenix Players would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the faculty and staff of Saint Joseph Prep, especially Gene Ward, Carol Woolston, Scott Poponyak, David Secor, Darol Ware, Thomas Hanley, as well as the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston for their invaluable help and support of the program. Finally, we are very grateful to all the parents for their support, both materially and emotionally!
Brigid Duffy ’22
Cameron Katz '25
Mai Chi Le '22
Danielle Lionel '24
Ellie Mullen '25
Nayeli Orellana '24
Annabelle Pappas ’22
Samuel Reisfeld ’22
Ava Ricard '25
Hao (Hank) Yang ’22
Dr. Daniel Borkowski & Ms. Nia Gipson
Shakespearean works covered in "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)”:
Henry VI Part I - Henry VI Part II - Henry VI Part III - Richard III - The Comedy of Errors - Titus Andronicus - The Taming of the Shrew - The Two Gentlemen of Verona - Love’s Labour’s Lost - Romeo and Juliet - Richard II - A Midsummer Night’s Dream - King John - The Merchant of Venice - Henry IV Part I - Henry IV Part II - Much Ado About Nothing - Henry V - Julius Caesar - As You Like It - Twelfth Night - Hamlet - The Merry Wives of Windsor - Troilus and Cressida - All’s Well That Ends Well - Measure for Measure - Othello - King Lear - Macbeth - Antony and Cleopatra - Coriolanus - Timon of Athens - Pericles - Cymbeline - The Winter’s Tale - The Tempest - Henry VIII - The Two Noble Kinsmen