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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Spring musical actors work to embody the bizarre characters in ‘Something Rotten’

Ariana Tootoonchi
Junior Kat Aldrete, sophomore Patrick Keogh, senior Arushi Maheshwar, junior Apollo Burgess, senior Margaret Laver and senior Ivan Bijamov rehearsing for “Something Rotten.”

The cast for the spring musical, “Something Rotten,” was announced in February. Of the leading roles, junior Ryan Backhus will play William Shakespeare, junior Apollo Burgess will play Nick Bottom and senior Arushi Maheshwar will be Nigel Bottom.

There will be four shows held over two weekends: April 26 to 28 and May 3 to 4. Tickets are priced at $15. Written by John O’Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick, the musical is set in Shakespearean times and is based on two brothers — Nick and Nigel Bottom — who are aspiring playwrights. As the siblings work to make their mark in society, Shakespeare leaves little room in the industry for rising talent. Instead, through his unique plays fueled by his madness, such as “Romeo and Juliet” and “Hamlet,” Shakespeare garners all the press and attention. 

“I channel the eccentricities of Shakespeare’s madness by immersing myself in his words and mannerisms,” Backhus said. “I try to bring his persona and wild spirit to life on stage and use an accent. Everyone’s energy on stage gives me confidence and brings him to life.”

As a result, in an attempt to outshine Shakespeare’s colorful plays and share their art with the world, the two brothers decide to write the first musical ever. 

Nick and Nigel Bottom, played by Burgess and Maheshwar respectively, are a dynamic writing duo; Nigel writes while Nick directs. Since Nick is the more headstrong of the two and always helps his brother gain confidence, Maheshwar said the part comes naturally to her and she does not alter herself as much since she already connects to her character.

“[Nigel is] a hopeless romantic,” Maheshwar said. “He’s incredibly awkward and is the kind of a guy who loves poetry and is really nerdy about it. I’m adjusting to playing him really well because I relate to him in the sense that I get awkward sometimes too, especially when I meet new people.” 

Nick, on the other hand, is known to be arrogant and overconfident. His main goal is that he wants to be the best at everything; he’s so blinded by that desire to be the best that he forgets just to be himself. He is simply  overwhelmed with jealousy of Shakespeare. 

Drama director Benjamin Brotzman highlighted the uniqueness of this year’s production because of how it incorporates references from Shakespeare’s most famous plays such as “Hamlet,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Merchant of Venice.”

“It’s outlandish and very funny, so I think that that’s going to be what draws people in,” Brotzman said.

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