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AU’s Rude Mechanicals variety show makes a dramatic return to the stage

The in-person performance offered a night of comedy and fun

Editor's note: Olivia Kozlevcar, The Eagle's life managing editor, is the PR director of Rude Mechanicals and was not involved in the writing, editing or reporting of this story.

As Family Weekend at AU got underway on Oct. 8, AU’s student-led, classical theater troupe Rude Mechanicals performed their annual variety show, titled "Variety Show 2022: A Shakespeare’d Silver Screen" for family and friends, where iconic scenes from pop culture are put through a Shakespeare translator and performed live. 

This year, actors interpreted a wide range of monologues from “Little Women” (Maddie Cooper as Jo and Morgan Kullen as Laurie), “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (Satvik Shukla as Will), “Princess Diaries” (Eva Helfter as Mia), “Shrek” (Christian Englehardt as Shrek and Rin Carroll as Donkey), “The Matrix” (Lauren Seppala as Morpheus), “Clueless” (Gabby Landis as Cher) and much more. 

The variety show had humor in mind, with jokes landing with ease and receiving positive reactions from audience members. Famous lines were spoken in Old English or Shakespearean language, bringing a whole new twist and brilliant creativity to the show, surprising audiences left and right. The costumes were simple, all-black ensembles with one exception — a white ruffle collar, giving a nod to 16th-century fashion. Siena Maxwell, Mikaila Mack, Abigail Chase and Emily Ahern directed the show, with Maxwell being the one who put the script together.  

Mack, a senior in the School of Public Affairs and the executive director of Rude Mechanicals, said she is grateful to return to in-person operations after the coronavirus pandemic sidelined in-person performances and recruiting students became difficult when the club's operations were virtual during the 2020-2021 school year.

“I think tonight was the first time in a long time that we were able to really get back to a place of normalcy where parents can come and support their children, come support us,” Mack said. “I couldn't be more proud of how this whole show went up and how everything came together. I think it went really well, and I am excited to see what this troupe is able to do in the future.”

A major allure of acting is being able to receive immediate feedback from the audience and feed off of the energy in the room, which can not be offered in the same way over Zoom. Morgan Kullen, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, appreciated performing with a live and supportive crowd for their first show at AU.

“My absolute favorite thing is before going on for either of my scenes I was in, was being able to listen to the other things going on,” Kullen said. “I love to hear what people are doing and I love hearing the audience's reaction; like yeah, you should be cheering and laughing for my friends.”

Going forward, Rude Mechanicals wants to build off of the fun momentum gained during the variety show.

“Honestly my goal is to get our name out there as much as possible. I think as it currently stands we are one of two semi-active student-led theater troupes on campus,” Mack said. 

“I believe it is us and the AU Players trying to make their way back. I know personally how hard it is to keep this kind of theater and experience alive, and so my goal is to give people as many opportunities as possible and take this troupe as far as it can go.” 

This article has been updated to include the name of the AU Players variety show, "Variety Show 2022: A Shakespeare’d Silver Screen," as well as the names of the directors. 

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