Concordia's Theatre Department debut for 2023

The Concordia Courier

Shakespeare’s “All’s Well That Ends Well” play set for Concordia’s Nelson Amphitheater in the making.

By Indi Ebo | 9/8/2023

Concordia is home to a renowned theatre department that has produced a series of outstanding plays and performances. This fall, the production, “All’s Well That Ends Well,” a play by William Shakespeare, published in the First Folio in 1623, will be played out by Concordia’s very own theatre team, with a newly built set to accompany the performance.

At 4 p.m. on the nights of Sep. 9, 10, 16, and 17, students and individuals of the public alike will have an opportunity to attend the play “All’s Well That Ends Well” on CUI’s campus. The play’s set has been constructed over the last few weeks in the Nelson Amphitheater, which is located outside, one level below the CU Center. Tickets for this show are free, and all are welcome, as it is suitable for an audience of all ages.

“All’s Well That Ends Well” is one of William Shakespeare’s comedies. It revolves around Helena, a clever young woman who cures the King of France and wins the love of Count Bertram. However, Bertram initially rejects her and sets her impossible tasks to prove her worthiness. Through wit and determination, Helena eventually wins Bertram’s affection, making the play a complex exploration of love, class, and personal growth. The title suggests that as long as the outcome is positive, the journey, no matter how challenging, is worthwhile.

The last time the theatre department was able to put on a play outdoors was in the spring of 2021. Now, the performers can once again utilize the Nelson Amphitheater, starting fresh within this fall semester.

The cast of this comedy play consists of a variety of student actors and actresses, with the lead actress being, senior, Emma Johnson. She says, “I am tremendously humbled. I have loved Shakespeare’s work from a very early age, and acting in a collegiate Shakespeare production has been a dream of mine for many years.” Johnson continued, “Helena is not only a very unexpected heroine but her ambition and personality separate her from most of Shakespeare’s more popular heroines. I am honored to share space with a character as complex and challenging as Miss Helena, and I hope that many of the women who come to see this show will see themselves in the many sides of this character.”

A unique aspect of this performance itself is the cast and the members that make it up. Johnson said, “This particular show has been very special as the cast is composed of a wide variety of skill and experience levels. We have five freshmen in this cast as well as one professional actor and two seasoned faculty members.” As a result of this, rehearsals have become a space where the students and staff have been able to grow and learn from each other.

In addition to the performers themselves, one of the other intriguing aspects of the play is the newly constructed set and all of the hard work that has been put into creating it. The director of the show, Professor Tony Vezner, said, “We were pleased to bring in 2010, CUI theatre alum, Hannah Welter, to design the scenery.” The construction unfortunately took a hit from the recent hurricane, but because of its structural integrity, everything was easy to quickly reassemble.

Emotions are high, and many are excited for what is to come of this Shakespeare performance. Vezner said, “I’m really taken with how far our young actors have come in learning how to make their characters their own and making fun, original choices with them. We’ve been on campus working since Aug. 2 - long days with very little time off. All of that hard work has, I think, really paid off in solid performances.” The cast and staff are elated and merrily invite all to partake in the audience of this play.

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