A very large and appreciative audience of 65 folks experienced first hand the joys of the ADK Shakespeare Company’s world premiere of The Twelve Labors of Hercules, right here in Schroon Lake last week.
The company is back on Wednesday, at 11 am at the Boat House, and we suggest you may want to get there early to claim your seat. Read our review by Deb Philp right here.
Today we caught up with the very talented and charming playwright, 21-year-old Jessica Hackett, who talked about how she wrote this original story about the most famous of Greek mythology’s legendary heroes and monsters, gods and goddesses.
Tell me the history of how the play came to be?
It started with the idea about doing something on Hercules, so I came up initially with this really stupid, slapstick, first draft, but I happened to mention Apollodoros was in it to Patrick (Patrick is the ADK Shakes Director,) and Patrick really latched onto that and we started it out beginning in ancient Rome with Agrippa and Octavius, the soon to be Caesar, and it just sort of took off from there and then it became this big story about friendship and strategy and politics and so it was all wrapped up in the idea of setting a mythological story in a realistic world.
How many drafts did you go through?
(Laughs) There was the first bad one, and after that it was the same draft. The only changes we made were the monsters. I wasn’t sure what we could do about having the monsters onstage, but we ended up using these huge amazing puppets, so a lot of the second and third drafts involved shifting the action off stage -- and being talked about -- to being onstage and happening right before your eyes.
The humor – where does it come from?
(Laughs) “I love Octavius, he has my sense of humor, a bit sarcastic and dry so it kind of started there and it became about the contrast of someone having a dry sense of humor and somebody who doesn’t understand dry humor. Agrippa is the physical humor, Octavius is the jokes.
What do you want the audience to take away from this production?.
I hope children take away an appreciation of theatre and that adults take away an appreciation of children’s theatre. One of the things we love about the show is that you can take something away no mater how old you are, so, I think the message is universal and that people recognize that and are willing to attend more performances that they might not have attended before.
And how inspired are you about writing your next play?
I’m working on it right now. It’s a lot darker than this play. But this has been a great start for a young author and I am excited about getting going on my next one.
And what are your job prospects?
I just graduated from St John's University in New York City with a major in English and a minor in theatre. Play writing a little tight now thanks to our economy, but I’m actually working in theater administration, where I do a lot with marketing and publicity to get more people involved in the theatre world.