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Shakespeare In The Streets Finds Inspiration In Desegregation Program

The third annual Shakespeare in the Streets starts Sept. 16.
Shakespeare in the Streets

Each Shakespeare in the Streets production starts the same way: Interviewing people in the community where the play will be performed.

“We never know what play we’re going to adapt; we never know what we’re going to find,” playwright Nancy Bell said. This is the third year for the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis program.

“We find out why (residents) live there, why they came, why they left and what they want,” director Alec Wild said. This year, those interviews led to Clayton High School.

“We asked people what they hated and everybody said the parking,” Wild said. “When we asked people what they love, they said the school system.”

“Good in Everything” is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” inspired by the school’s desegregation program. Bell called the two plays identical in spirit.”

“The show is really a love story about two people,” Bell said. “In our version, one of the people is a girl from Clayton High School who lives in Clayton and one of them is a voluntary transfer student who lives in the city. It’s a romance between those two, and we use that romance, in part, to explore what the experience of people who were involved in the voluntary transfer system is.”

“Good in Everything” features several Clayton residents, as well as a string quartet from Clayton High School.

“Part of the charter from the Shakespeare in the Streets program is that we have half professional and half amateur actors,” Wild said. “Because we focused so much on Clayton High School … we wound up with a lot of kids from Clayton High School and even a teacher from Clayton High School who’s in the show.”

The play opens Sept. 18 in downtown Clayton.

Related Event

"Good in Everything"

  • When: 8 p.m. Sept. 18-20, 2014
  • Where: Central Avenue between Forsyth Boulevard and Maryland Avenue, Clayton
  • Cost: Free
  • More information

“Cityscape” is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.