On the evening of February 9, 2018, The Performing Otters had their first performance of their production Much Ado About Nothing in the World Theater at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB).
The Shakespearean comedy was directed by CSUMB student, Brendan Mahoney, who chose a 70’s style and theme for the classical production. We asked why Mahoney would choose to put Shakespeare in the 70’s and he answered, “There was one thing that probably started it, but I had been listening to a lot of disco and I’m like, ‘I could do a play off of this.’ I’ve seen Saturday Night Fever like three times. Not by my own choice. Sometimes it was out of convenience. But, I liked the style. I liked the drama. I liked the wide collars, and I think there is just something fun about it. And especially with a play that has two dances that are essential stage directions. Shakespeare is not big on writing stage directions and he put two dances in the play, so I figured that I least would have music that you could dance to.”
When asked why he chose to put on this play, Mahoney explained, “CSUMB has a startling lack of theater. And by startling, I mean an absolute zero. There are two productions put on every year and since the addition of the play A Race Through Time, there are three productions run by students that go on in the World Theater. Three of them I would define as performance arts pieces. I have not seen a theatrical play performed on this campus ever. And I felt it was my obligation, as a person who loves theater and a person who is willing to spend a lot of time and money working on this, to change that.”
Rachel Franklin and Jeremy Majjasie were two of the actors who performed in the production that evening. Rachel Franklin is a CSUMB student who played the role of Beatrice. Jeremy Majjasie is a recent CSUMB graduate who returned to campus in order to play the role of Benedick.
When we asked what the experience was like Majjasie told us, “For me personally, I lived on campus last semester and I actually graduated over the break. So, it was really time consuming for me since there was a lot of travel involved. However, I definitely did not want to walk away from this project, having been casted in it in the first semester, because I really liked the people that were involved. I absolutely fell in love with all these people. As well, I just felt it was a great experience. I love Shakespeare.”
Franklin added in as well, “I feel like Shakespeare is really important. And also, theater in general is really important on campus.”
The Performing Otters is a campus club that started out in the meeting house, which is a small church-like building on campus. The club has since recently graduated to performing in the world theater.
Majjasie describes their excitement for being able to perform on the larger stage in the World Theater, “The fact that the Performing Otters finally have a theater like this, The World Theater, that we can finally perform in its just so awesome. It’s so great. We’re use to dealing with, like, no backstage where there’s no room. People are tripping over everybody. So, this was really nice.”
Hopefully in the future, the World Theater will see more productions done by The Performing Otters on its stage.