Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Kyler Parks, a sophomore at Trinity Episcopal Day School, looks on as eighth-grade students rehearse a scene from “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar” on Wednesday afternoon. Parks will be directing the eighth graders' performance of the play during the school's upcoming Shakespeare Fest in April.
Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Kyler Parks, a sophomore at Trinity Episcopal Day School, looks on as eighth-grade students rehearse a scene from “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar” on Wednesday afternoon. Parks will be directing the eighth graders' performance of the play during the school's upcoming Shakespeare Fest in April.

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BRIGHT FUTURE: Trinity student making directorial debut

Published 12:10am Thursday, March 28, 2013

NATCHEZ — It’s not the Ides of March that’s worrying Trinity student Kyler Parks lately, but Julius Caesar’s death is involved.

Parks, a 10th grader at Trinity Episcopal Day School, was given the responsibility of directing “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar” for the school’s upcoming Shakespeare Fest, a week-long event featuring coordinated events and special learning opportunities for students.

The Shakespeare play, which portrays the conspiracy against and assassination of the Roman dictator, will mark Parks’ directorial and theater debut.

“I was kind of scared at first when I found out I would be directing the play, but I’ve gotten a lot of help with it,” Parks said. “I enjoy interacting with the people and showing them how to act, where to stand and how to make everything seem natural on stage.”

Trinity teacher Mark McNeil chose Parks to direct the play because of the creativity she displayed in drama class and to give her a crash course into directing.

“You learn more about directing by doing it than by reading about it or being an actor on stage, so it’s helping her apply the ideas and concepts we talk about in class on the stage,” McNeil said. “So far, she’s been phenomenal with having a lot of neat and creative ideas and also encouraging the other students to come up with their own ideas.”

Parks’ responsibilities include making sure the 10 eighth-grade, student actors know their lines, know their places on stage and have their costumes ready.

Apart from having to give directions to her peers, many of whom she grew up with, the most difficult part of directing, Parks said, is the costumes.

“I didn’t know each person was responsible for their own costumes, so I’m going to have to make sure everyone has theirs and they look right,” Parks said. “The other challenge is that the people I’m directing are my age, so it’s weird to boss people around that I’ve known for a long time.”

Another challenge for the student actors, Parks said, is making sure the ones who have speaking roles will have their lines memorized.

“The one who plays Mark Antony originally had a two-page speech to remember, and that’s just hard for them to do on top of all their school work,” Parks said. “We cut the long speeches down, but we only have 30 days left to get everything ready.”

Shakespeare Fest will run from Monday, April 22 to Sunday, April 28. A performance of Julius Caesar will be on Wednesday, April 24.

And while Parks said she’s still not sure if theater or directing is what she wants to continue doing after high school, a trip to New York City to experience Broadway couldn’t hurt.

“I really want to go to New York and see Broadway plays,” Parks said. “I’m not sure if this is what I want to do long-term, but I would much rather be directing than acting in the play.”