The problem one would imagine would be to find boys whose voices had not yet changed. Who else could properly imitate an appropriately feminine voice? Someone had to act the roles women were not permitted to take.
So it was during the time of William Shakespeare, when plays were acted entirely by men. This is precisely what will happen in the drama department's newest venture, the upcoming play Love's Labour's Lost.
Well, there will be one difference. The actors are not all men with prepubescent boys playing the female roles. In a fresh and modern twist, the cast is entirely female.
The play tells the story of four men who swear off women for three years, whereupon each falls promptly and completely in love. The tale of their forbidden love and secret attempt to woo the women is a true representation of Shakespeare's genius, full of humour, drama and wit. Opening Oct. 25 at the University Theater, Love's Labour's Lost will run until Nov. 4.
Directed by Barry Yzereef, this play is virtually unedited, allowing the poetry of the script to work its magic. Although performing a Shakespearean play may seem like an intimidating proposition, the actors are embracing their task.
Actress Katie Pakarnyk has many feelings about the script.
"The language is quite daunting at first," she confesses. "But once you get into it, the emotion takes over. All of a sudden it becomes this beautiful story."
Jamie Konchak shares this sentiment.
"You're really proud of yourself," she laughs. "Once you do figure out what you're saying, and what it means... it's very rewarding."
Both are excited about opening night, waving away any thoughts of nervousness or insecurity.
"I can't wait to get in front of an audience, it adds such dimension," exclaims Konchak.
Adds Pakarnyk, "We have such a powerful cast, I'm excited to see people's reactions to the performance."
Pakarnyk will play Rosaline, companion to the princess of France and one of the ladies being wooed. Konchak will play Barone, one of the love-struck men. Despite the fact that she is playing the role of a man, Konchak did not prepare for her role any differently than she would have for a female character.
"It was just a different kind of physicality," she explains. "It was just a little bit farther away from who I am as a person."
While the play promises to be well acted and amusing, it will be a feast for the eyes as well as the ears. The extravagant costumes, designed by Douglas McCullough and Lisa Roberts, were constructed specifically for the occasion.
"I feel so spoiled," remarks Pakarnyk, comparing the elegance of her taffeta gown to the "taffeta phrases" of her character. The set, also designed by Douglas McCullough, will add to the spectacle.
"Come out and see the show," says Konchak. "Even if you ignore us, everything else is beautiful."