Mill Pond Players give teens a chance to act

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 12, 2002

All summer long, the 14 members of the Mill Pond Players have been hard at work, honing their acting skills and preparing for their performance of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" at the end of August.

It will be a first for the group who formed at the beginning of summer.

Nathan Wradislavsky, of Austin, says he decided to create the theater group with the help of several of his friends, because, as the director of music with the Austin High School drama department for the past two years, he noticed "there was nothing for high school students in the summer. Riverland Community College and Summerset Theater put on plays, but those roles usually go to adult actors."

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He says he wanted the students to "stretch their talents … and learn new tricks."

Shakespeare has certainly done that for the high school actors. Wradislavsky says though the sets and costumes are modern because "we have a budget of basically zero," the play hasn't been altered. "We're still being true to the language of the play," he says.

Cast member Bill Hoy, 17, says some of the allure of the group for him was "the chance to do Shakespeare," but that it's been challenging.

His castmates agree.

"It's something new and different, but the text has been challenging. It's definitely a little bit more of a challenge than what we're used to," says Nick Adams, 17.

This year, the group is focused on acting, but Wradislavsky has plans for the members of the group to work on playwriting next summer. He says he also hopes to increase their number of performances to three next year.

In addition to the workshops for area high school students, Wradislavsky plans to direct shows with adult actors because, "there aren't many shows for adults during the school year. The high school has their performances and Riverland has theirs, but adults in the community don't have much of an opportunity to perform."

The first show, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," is scheduled for November and auditions begin Aug. 18.

"The Taming of the Shrew" will be performed at 7 p.m. Aug. 30 and at 2 p.m. Aug. 31 at the Paramount Theatre in Austin. Tickets cost $5. For tickets to "The Taming of the Shrew" and more information about the Mill Pond Players and other upcoming auditions and performances, call Nathan Wradislavsky at 433-8812.

Amanda L. Rohde can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at