Oroville School Play Honors Late Teacher

Mar 19, 2013 3:58 PM

An Oroville charter school is setting the stage for a Shakesperian style play, and it's one that holds special meaning for students. The performance will be dedicated to the school's drama teacher, who passed away late last year. Susan Williams had a deep love for theater, and its something that translated to her students.

Hearthstone School 8th grader Kaleigh Graham says, "You could feel (Williams) when she walked into a room. She had stage presence in every aspect of her life."

Williams taught spanish and drama for 16 years at Hearthstone School. Last year, she called upon a friend to write an original play for her students, but she'll never get to see the show performed. In December, Williams died of cancer, but that didn't affect her dedication to the show or her students one bit.

The play's director, Deanna Alexich, says, "Even in her illness she wanted the show to go on and she was giving me directions up until the night before she died."

"Will Shakespeare's Dilemma" is a show about a traveling troupe of actors putting on a production of "Romeo and Juliette", but the problem is they can't figure out whether the show is supposed to be a tragedy or a comedy. Alexich chose to add a few of Williams' favorite Shakesperian characters as a tribute to her friend.

"I really feel her a lot in this play, so that's why I wrote into it through those characters. The words that are spoken by Puck, History, and Shakespeare, are really words that came forth through the journey Susan took before she left us," she says.

Although Williams is gone, her legacy lives on through her work and the students who knew her best.

"She affected a lot of lives here. It's amazing what she did. She took kids who were struggling, and from some of the hardest situations and taught them Shakespeare," says Graham.

If you'd like to catch "Will Shakespeare's Dilemma", there will be a performance on Friday at the State Theater in Oroville starting at 7:30p.m.


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