All’s Well That Ends Well, or does it?
Poster of All’s Well that Ends Well. Courtesy of Theatre, Dance and Performing Arts at New College.

All’s Well That Ends Well, or does it?

When there’s a will, there’s a play. This spring Shakespeare’s classic All’s Well That Ends Well will be brought to life at New College’s Black Box Theater (BBT) under the creative direction of Professor of English and Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies (TDPS) Nova Myhill. The not-so-love story of Helena and Bertram will be performed from April 25-28 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. This Catalyst staffer will throw quips on stage in the role of the Countess’s clown. Very fitting, perhaps, according to some. 

In case one is overwhelmed with trying to research New College’s rigorous fall class schedule, here is a plot summary of the show: The year is 1623 and the French Court is mourning the loss of the Count of Roussillon. The Count’s son, Bertram, becomes a ward of the dying French King. Helena has always been in love with Bertram, and when she hears of the King’s illness, she offers to heal him with medicines from her dead physician father in exchange for Bertram’s hand in marriage. Helena is played by second-year TDPS Area of Concentration (AOC) Cat Turner. Turner performed in TDPS’s Almost Maine by John Cariani and portrayed the villain in Emy Mcquire’s (’23) The Legend of Anne Bonny.

Bertram does not reciprocate the feeling and, with the assistance of the conniving Parolles, played by first-year Lexi Galloway, flees to Italy to fight in the war. It’s pretty bad when someone’s man would rather fight in war than be married to them. Bertram is played by thesis student Colin Jefferis. Jefferis also had feature roles in Almost Maine and The Legend of Anne Bonny

Colin Jefferis in his Bertram costume. Photo by Alexandra Levy. 

Helena fakes her death (wouldn’t anyone just die of embarrassment?) and goes to Italy. She tries to find Bertram to meet certain expectations that he has stated in order for them to be married. One of these is Helena carrying his child. Helena meets Diana, a poor widow’s daughter, and they devise a plan to get what they both want. Diana will make Bertram fall in love with her so that he offers her marriage and his family heirloom ring. Diana will give him Helena’s ring in return. Then Diana will go to the King and claim the dowry that is hers. Diana is portrayed by second-year TDPS AOC Makayla Hunter. Hunter is also the dance captain for the show and has an extensive dance background. 

One night, Helena sneaks into Bertram’s room disguised as Diana and they sleep together. Pregnant Helena returns to France after Bertram is almost charged with her murder. Bertram finally acknowledges Helena and the King offers to pay Diana’s dowry to whomever she chooses. 

A sneak peek at rehearsal. From right to left,  Lexi Galloway, behind is Noah Stepp and Josh Janniere. In the middle of the upper platform is Colin Jefferis, followed by Sophia Patrick, the intimacy director and choreographer, and JD Beavers. 

First-year Christian Daloul spoke with the Catalyst about his experience in his first Shakespearean production. “The language hasn’t been too much of a struggle for me. It was a challenge to memorize the lines, but after that came the real challenge of correctly using the punctuation and breathwork Shakespeare put into the piece.”

Daloul plays the roles of the King of France and the Duke. His favorite part of playing the king is how verbose the character is. The king has soliloquies that go on until the Ides of March. Daloul’s favorite character is Parolles, Bertram’s advice giver throughout the show. “The character is hilarious and everyone in the show despises him. At the start of the show, Parolles seems like he has his life together and knows what he’s doing, but as we continue, Parolles’s story just continues to get worse,” Daloul observed. 

Daloul said he looks forward to the performance and to bringing a New College rendition of Shakespeare to the community. “I’m honestly most excited for the show itself to start. The most exciting part of doing a show is always the performance for me, and I’m really excited for everyone who comes to see just how much work everyone has put into the play.”

For ticket inquiries, email Director of Theatrical Production Tim O’Donnel, at Tickets are sold out, however, there will be a waitlist 45 minutes before each show. As Shakespeare wrote, “The King’s a beggar now the play is done,” and so is this article. 

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