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Community theater debuts with Shakespeare!
From left are Corie Barnette, Lance Stinespring and Candace Cosper. The three are members of the new Fifth Row Center theater group.

There’s more to Shakespeare than old English language and tragic death scenes.

In fact, even today his phrases, such as "wild goose chase" or "all the world’s an oyster" stay in our lexicon, and many of us never think about their origins from the famous bard.

So, in celebration of the dozens of plays, sonnets and star-crossed lovers he has given us, Fifth Row Center presents "Shakespeare!," a play that not only celebrates Shakespeare’s work but also teaches about his life.

This is the first locally-produced show from Hall County’s new community theater group, which formed a few months ago. Performances take place Friday and Saturday at The Springs Church in Flowery Branch.

The show starts with an introduction to the timing of Shakespeare’s birth — complete with a waving queen and the black plague — and quickly works its way into how he met his wife and his early inspirations. And along the way, there’s plenty of laughs.

"It’s an educational thing, but it’s a lot of fun," sid assistant director Dee Dee Allard, adding that the production is planned in a few schools as well. "And Donna’s talking about doing it at the Renaissance Festival this year."

Donna is Donna Chalmers, who started Fifth Row Center. She comes from Lawrenceville, where she started the Lawrenceville Community Theatre. Allard, who is from Lawrenceville, left LCT to work with Chalmers in Flowery Branch.

"She’s my driving force," she said.

Lance Stinespring, a Gainesville State College student, said not only is this a good production for kids and adults to learn about Shakespeare, but it’s fun to watch, too.

"And we as a society, whether we realize it or not, have learned lots from Shakespeare’s life," he said. "And that’s what the show’s about."

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