It’s Prep School Drama In BHS-PAC’s Production Of Shakespeare’s Comedy ‘Love’s Labors Lost’

Photo: The production poster of BHS-PAC’s 2022 fall play Love’s Labors Lost

The Belmont High School Performing Arts Company’s 2022 Fall Play is Love’s Labors Lost, an early William Shakespeare work which in PAC’s production updates the comedy from the mythical medieval Kingdom of Navarre to a modern day Prep School with gender-mixed casting, some modern day language, contemporary pop music and even some viral internet trends.

“The goal of our production is for Shakespeare fans and first timers to follow along and enjoy the show,” said Ezra Flam, the Performing Arts Company Producer/Director. 

The production will take place Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Nov. 17, 18, 19 at 7 p.m. at the Belmont High School Black Box theater.

TICKETS are:

  • Adults: $12
  • BHS Students: $5
  • Children: $7

Ticketing for the shows is all online, and advance purchase of tickets is strongly encouraged, as the Black Box has limited seating capacity. Tickets can be purchased at bhs-pac.org.

The PAC Production features a send up of high school stereotypes, and mixes into the comedy some modern day slang, contemporary pop music and even some viral internet trends.

One of the highlights of this production has been the PAC’s update of the Shakespeare setting to the modern day. The show is now set in Navarre Academy, where the Student Council President (Ferdinand) convinces their three best friends to sign on to a pledge to study seriously and avoid romance. Just as they sign the pledge, four exchange students from the French Academy arrive at Navarre Academy for the term. One by one the members of the Navarre Academy Student Council fall in love with one of the exchange students and go to great lengths to keep secret from the others that they have broken their pledge.

Meanwhile, the other students of Navarre Academy get mixed up in the action, and drag the four couples into all of the other drama at school: Mathlete drama, Sports drama, Class Clown drama, Hall Monitor drama, Cool Kid drama, Skater Punk drama and even Drama Club drama.

“In rehearsal students have been tasked with first understanding and mastering how to deliver the Shakespearean language, and then make it accessible to audiences who may not be familiar with the show. The cast has done a great job of using staging and physicality, as well as careful placement of some contemporary-language and music to tell the story,” said Flam in a press release.

The other fun thing to explore in the show is the way in which our modern-day telling upends many of the gender-norms present in the original script. Shakespeare’s version of Love’s Labors Lost featured for “boys” falling in love with four “girls,” and played on many of the familiar expectations of those stories. Our casting mixes up gender and sexuality, and has allowed us to explore more fully some of the relationship dynamics that present day BHS students actually experience.

The tech crew has been hard at work creating the world of the show. Under the guidance of Scenic Designer Anna Moss, Costume Designer Lila West and Technical Director Ian O’Malley, students are building the grand lobby of a prep school built in the 1800s, constructing school uniforms that
showcase the personalities of the characters and filling the show with fun props, music and lighting.

The show features a cast of 18 actors and the tech crew includes more than 40 students working on lighting, scenery, costumes, props, sound and stage management.

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