By Sarah Pride
Patrick Henry College
This year represents a special community outreach for Patrick Henry College’s student-run drama group, Eden Troupe, as the semester’s production has stepped off-campus and into Harmony Intermediate School in nearby Hamilton. Since its humble beginnings in a classroom at Patrick Henry College, the student-run drama group Eden Troupe has pushed its limits every year. Students have produced at least one play for the community every semester, often playing to a capacity crowd in PHC’s Town Hall.
This year, junior Aidan Grano and sophomore Stephanie McGill have chosen to present their unique rendition of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night on a larger stage and a larger auditorium, with seats for 400 people. Shows are set to run at 7:00pm each night, Friday, May 1 to Sunday, May 3. In addition, there will be a matinee showing on Saturday at 2:00pm. Tickets are available from the PHC Bookstore (540-338-8804) at $10 for evening performances or $8 for the matinee, with an additional $2 for orchestra seating.
Grano explains that this is part of Eden Troupe’s purpose to grow into an actual community theatre that draws in more of PHC’s neighbors in Purcellville and beyond.
“We in Eden Troupe have spent eight years developing our skills as a production company,” he says. “We felt that this year we wanted to introduce the community to what we can do.”
The directorial team and their many student volunteers have experimented further with community involvement by selling program ads to local businesses and asking for their support. Some businesses, such as the Purcellville Florist, are donating goods.
“We would like to bring people together over art as much as possible,” Grano says. “You don’t need the same politics or religion to appreciate a play.”
Innovating with colors and blocking, Grano and McGill have brought Shakespeare into a modern-day setting—the street between two playhouses in New York City.
“This is the great challenge of restaging Shakespeare,” says Grano. “You want to keep the original language, and yet it has to make sense in a completely different setting.”
They hope to see many new faces in the audience next weekend.