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Shakespeare in style at Royer Park

By: Eileen Wilson, Special to The Press-Tribune
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Shakespeare’s still in style. The Bard’s plays may be 400 years old, but they still have the power to entertain. And entertain they shall when the exuberant young cast from Take Note Troupe performs “Twelfth Night” in Royer Park June 12-14. In its seventh year, Take Note Troupe, or TNT for short, has a remarkable passion for Shakespeare. Attired in Renaissance fashion, brandishing a pennywhistle and a number of odd musical instruments, confident troupe members performed songs and snippets from their upcoming show in Roseville during a recent Downtown Tuesday Night event. As with the famed Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, play goers are encouraged to bring sweaters, low-backed chairs or blankets, and even picnics, to enjoy during the show. Most of all, spectators should bring a sense of adventure, as the Bard is known for his wicked sense of humor and lively tales. According to Aurora Florence, one of TNT’s original members, Shakespeare has important messages that everyone can relate to. “He teaches life-changing morals,” she said of the famous playwright. “Things (people) can take to the rest of their lives.” Though TNT has received two Elly Awards, honors given to the best and most talented actors and troupes in the Sacramento region, trophies are not what the director and performers would most like their troupe to be known for. Rather, the group prides itself first and foremost on being a service organization. “They take the shows to different schools, for free, and also perform at Eskaton,” said Melanie Ferguson, the troupe’s volunteer public relations manager, referring to the retirement community. “Last winter we went all the way to Palo Alto to perform for kids who don’t normally have an opportunity to see live theater,” she said. Schools, suffering from increasingly lean budgets, may have seen art and music reduced or eliminated entirely. It’s important to TNT members to keep the arts alive for youngsters. All 21 cast members, from Roseville, Granite Bay, Auburn, Newcastle, Rocklin and Lincoln, have a passion for sharing themselves and their talent. “We’re looking for kids who are willing to reach out and expand by giving service to the community,” said Florence, regarding upcoming auditions. The troupe travels to Cedar City, Utah to attend and compete in a Shakespeare festival for high schools and adult groups from across the nation each year. Along the way, they visit needy schools to spread Shakespearean fun. In addition to performing for needy schools, the troupe enjoys helping students from Olympus Junior High School in Roseville with their World Expo and student plays each year. Troupe members help the seventh- and eighth-graders learn Old English and perfect their public-speaking skills. But the benefits of the troupe aren’t meant for audiences alone. Members themselves derive skills and improvement from both Shakespeare and non-Shakespeare productions, as well as workshops for kids who don’t want to commit to a full year of shows. Kids learn improvisational skills, how to stay positive, how to be “in the moment.” “You can see how they apply these life skills in other areas,” said Florence. Take Note Troupe What: “Twelfth Night” Where: Royer Park, Roseville When: 7:30 p.m. June 12-14 Info: www.tntdrama.org