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Rude Mechanicals

Rudes Montage 1

The Rude Mechanicals Medieval and Renaissance Players is a theater troupe devoted to two goals: (1) productions of ancient Greek, medieval, and Renaissance drama that are true to the spirit of the time in which these plays were first performed and are relevant to twenty-first century audiences; (2) productions of short plays written by Shepherd University Creative Writing Majors.   Previous productions include Shakespeare’s Hamlet, King Lear, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, and Macbeth; a wide variety of medieval plays, including The Creation and Fall of the Angels, The Fall of Man, The Killing of Abel, The Death of Herod, The Second Shepherds’ Play, Everyman, and Mankind; Greek tragedies such as Antigone, Medea, Trojan Women, and Electra; and fourteen plays by Shepherd University Creative Writing majors.  The Rude Mechanicals troupe has performed in the Netherlands, Denmark, Canada, California, Florida, and Washington, DC.  For more information about the Rude Mechanicals, contact Dr. Betty Ellzey, Chair of the Department of English and Modern Languages, Shepherd University (304 876-5208 or

Shepherd University’s Rude Mechanicals Medieval and Renaissance Players will perform three plays written by Shepherd creative writing students and a short medieval play set in contemporary America from Friday, March 29th, to Saturday, April 6th, in Reynolds Hall.

The student-written plays include Harper and Laurel by Claudia McCarron, an English major from Charles Town, about a daughter who tries to negotiate an uneasy relationship with her step-mother after the sudden death of her father; Welcome to the Poetry Club by Andrea Monsma, an English and communications major from Kearneysville, a comedy in which members of a college poetry club with very different personalities and very different ideas of poetry share their poems and philosophies of life; and Charity, Cubes, and Caroline by Lena Nunez, an English and political science major from Fayetteville, North Carolina, about a mother who tries to rescue her son from a weird cult, with mixed results.

The short medieval play is Herod and the Slaughter of the Innocents, the biblical story of Herod and the slaughter of the babies of Bethlehem, set in today’s America, translated from Middle English by Dr. Betty Ellzey, chair of the Department of English and Modern Languages, and alumna Allexandra Benedict.

Panel discussions are planned after two of the performances. “Art and Political Protest” will include panelists Thérèse Keegan, choreographer, teacher, performer, and community arts activist; Lizard Walker, founding member of Maryland-based touring aerial dance theater company Updraft; Eileen Waggoner, Shepherd alumna, writer, editor, and digital storyteller; Shepherd English majors Gabby Hersey, Delray, Alex Jones, Hagerstown, Maryland, and Lilli Sutton, Boonsboro, Maryland; and Ellzey.

The panel “Page to Stage” will feature the student playwrights, McCarron, Monsma, and Nunez; directors of the three student plays, Ashley Hall and Michaela Boyle, both alumnae, and Adam Wilson, community member; Dr. James Pate, assistant professor of English; and Ellzey.

Performances will take place:

Admission is $5 general public; $2 other students; and free for Shepherd University students with a valid Rambler ID, faculty, and staff.

For more information, contact Dr. Betty Ellzey (304 876-5208 or