The Mountain Shakespeare Festival ended its third season July 28 to sold-out performances and standing ovations. Charlotte Van Houten (l) played the Duke and Michelle Morain played Adriana in The Comedy of Errors which alternated with You Can?t Take It With You for a month.
By Charlotte Van Houten
Hi, my name is Charlotte Van Houten and I’m nine and a half years old. I played the Duke of Ephesus in the Mountain Shakespeare Festival production of “The Comedy of Errors.”
I am the youngest actor in the show and it’s been fun being the ruler of the whole city of Ephesus.
In the first Act, I don’t even have to stand, I get to sit in a throne, while Egeon (David Stenstrom) begs me not to execute him.
When the actors in the “loud crowd” yell “Kill him,” all I have to do is raise my hand and they’re immediately silent. I like power.
When I first auditioned for the play, I didn’t think I would get a part at all. My Mom told me that Shakespeare didn’t write parts for children because child actors were not allowed on the stage at that time.
But, still, I wanted to try because I really like Shakespeare. I’ve seen lots of his plays and even acted in a few with my cousins during our annual Thanksgiving Shakespeare Festival. It takes place in our living room every year.
So, I’m pretty comfortable with his language and it was easy for me to read the lines for the audition.
Peter Kjenaas, the director of the Mountain Shakespeare Festival, thought it would be hilarious to have a child duke (after all, some rulers take the throne while they are still children).
When rehearsals began, it was really cool. I got to say my lines with some of my favorite people. The actors in this play were all really sweet to me. I’d memorized most of my lines ahead of time, so rehearsing was mostly fun. I was very nervous the opening night of the show, but the other actors helped me to not be so frightened. After that first night it was easy and my biggest problem then was being bored backstage. Sometimes I would knit. One night, Mr. D (David Stenstrom) kept me awake by teaching me how to thumb wrestle. That was really fun!
I’ll miss it a lot when it’s over, especially the part where I sit on the throne. But, I’m looking forward to our cast party, which will be a lot of fun too.
This is part of the August 01, 2008 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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