Desert Academy ‘Occupies’ Shakespeare

Editor | - February 1, 2013

New Desert Academy student production of "As You Like It" has Occupy Wall Street theme

Student’s concept updates "As You Like It" to Occupy Wall Street Theme: Desert Academy will stage "As You Like It," one of William Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, as the first production in the Atrium Theater at the school’s new campus. The performances take place at 7 pm on Thursday, February 21; Friday, February 22; and Saturday, February 23.

"As You Like It" is much ado about the unfair class system during Elizabethan times. The play is another of Shakespeare’s outrageous romps poking fun at the aristocracy and reveling in the angst of young love before all ends well.

When Randy Bennett, Performing Arts and Film chair and director of the play, gave an assignment to his theater class to develop a concept for this year’s mainstage production, it’s no wonder that he chose Abby Tiarks’s pitch of “Occupy Wall Street” as the winner. “In Abby’s interpretation, Duke Frederick and Duke Senior become feuding corporate CEOs,” said Bennett. “Their court is the penthouse of a Wall Street skyscraper and Arden Forest becomes Arden Park, an urban oasis uptown from the Financial District. The Elizabethan music is replaced by tunes from Simon and Garfunkel.”

The cast includes Corrina Leatherwood, Lily Tiarks, Rise Miller, Xoco Sanchez, Zoe Chmielarczyk, Savion Charbonnet, Abby Tiarks, Fernando Borrero-Colon, Claire Hinkley, Ceryn Schoel, Jordan Medina, Anisa Martinez and Liam Kuziel. Alea Campbell is the production stage manager.  The set design is by Kirk LeBlanc, who has been the properties paint charge at the Santa Fe Opera for the past seven seasons. Assisting him on lights is Kortney McQuade, who also works in the Opera’s production department.

General admission tickets for "As You Like It" are $10 for adults and $5 for students and children. Seating is limited; for advance reservations, call 992-8284, ext. 26. Remaining tickets, if any, will be sold at the door beginning at 6 p.m. each evening. (Cash and checks only; credit cards are not accepted.) The Atrium Theater is in the main building on Desert Academy’s new campus, located at 7300 Old Santa Fe Trail. 

About Desert Academy
Founded in 1994, Desert Academy is a college preparatory school which currently serves more than 170 students in grades 7 through 12. A 6th grade curriculum will be added in September, 2013.  The school moved to a new 26-acre campus at 7300 Old Santa Fe Trail in September, 2012. Desert offers the International Baccalaureate’s Diploma Program for 11th and 12th grade students and the Middle Years Program in all other grades. The school’s commitment to academic excellence is reflected in an eight-to-one student-teacher ratio and an average class  size of 12. Cultural and economic diversity is encouraged through a financial aid program which supports more than 45% of attendees. Students participate in 15 extra-curricular clubs and 23 “no-cut” sports offerings, as well as an extensive community service program. For more information, visit

From a Desert Academy press release.