MC Theatre presents “Speak Low If You Speak Love” Oct. 6-8

MC Theatre presents “Speak Low If You Speak Love” Oct. 6-8

Sept. 15, 2017 

The Maryville College Theatre Department will present “Speak Low If You Speak Love,” an evening of Shakespeare's scenes, sonnets and songs all focused on the theme of love.

On Oct. 6-8, the public is invited to celebrate the magnitude of the Bard's work on this universal theme with scenes from Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Performances will be held in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Haslam Family Flexible Theatre on Fri., Oct. 6 at 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 7 at 8 p.m.; and Sun., Oct. 8 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for seniors (ages 60 and older) and students. Admission is free for Maryville College faculty, staff and students, but tickets are required. For tickets, please call the Clayton Center Box Office at 865.981.8590 or visit

MC Associate Professor of Theatre Dr. Heather McMahon, the director, conceived of the idea for the production.

“I wanted students to have a chance to work on Shakespeare, since an actor who can perform Shakespeare well can perform anything well,” McMahon said. “I think this is essential training, so I have been treating the production like a sort of master class on performing Shakespeare. We have used part of our rehearsal time every night to explore different acting techniques that the students can use when tackling the language and the understanding the characters.

McMahon said she thinks audiences will see an engaging and entertaining production, since the performance highlights some of Shakespeare’s most famous work.

“Focusing on the theme of love gave us lots of material – some serious and some funny – but also reveals the vast extent of Shakespeare’s work on this theme,” she said.

The cast includes the following Maryville College students and alumni: senior Kristian Moats ’18 of Maryville, Tenn., as Romeo/Oberon; senior Anna Haynes ’18 of Asheville, N.C., as Juliet/Hermia: freshman Cameron Freshour ’21 of Chattanooga, Tenn., as Friar and Demetrius; sophomore Allison Parton ’20 of Knoxville, Tenn., as Nurse/Hippolyta; freshman Terrance McBride ’21 of Nashville, Tenn., as Watchman/Theseus; junior Anna Dieter ’19 of Signal Mountain, Tenn., as Chorus/Puck; freshman Riley Hamant ’21 of Cincinnati, Ohio, as Servingwoman/Helena; alumnus Matt Lyscas ’15 of Maryville, Tenn., as Lysander; and sophomore Lailani Price ’20 of Lebanon, Tenn., as Peaseblossom.

Production includes music performed by MC students and faculty

Dr. Sheri Matascik, associate professor of music at MC, will record several pieces of music that will be used as underscoring for the production. She has researched period music to find pieces that were composed around the same time that Shakespeare was writing. She will record these pieces, originally composed for lute, on a classical guitar.

Stacey Wilner, senior lecturer in music and director of choral activities at MC, has worked to arrange for students to sing several pieces of music live in the production. These pieces include songs that Shakespeare wrote himself (“though we don’t have the original music anymore, only the lyrics that he wrote,” McMahon said), as well as other music of the period. Songs like “Sigh No More, Ladies” and “O, Mistress Mine” might be familiar to audience members who are familiar with Shakespeare’s songs.

Singers are: senior Hannah White ’18 of Strawberry Plains, Tenn.; junior Lindsey Lively ’19 of Pikeville, Tenn.; junior Mindy Reagan ’19 of Maryville, Tenn.: junior Mikaela Evans ’19 of Greenback, Tenn.; and sophomore Jennilyn Grover ’20 of Savage, Minn.

Senior Lenny Lively ’18 of Pikeville, Tenn., student choreographer for the show, will choreograph several dances for the actors, based on his research on dance styles in the English Renaissance.

“The music enhances the production so much, and I am really excited about the collaboration between the music program and the theatre program here at MC,” McMahon said. “Not only are our students richer for it, but so are the performances that we open up to the public!”

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,154.