Muckers back on stage in ‘Tempest’ |

Muckers back on stage in ‘Tempest’

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Virginia City High School drama department members rehearse for the upcoming performance of William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" at the school on Wednesday evening.

The Virginia City Theater Muckers are back on stage, without their longtime teacher, Bill Beeson, but with a new look at a Shakespearean classic.

The VCHS drama program presents “The Tempest” under the direction of new drama teacher Jo Kilmer, who said she refused to take the position without the approval of her popular predecessor.

“I said I would take on the job only if it was OK with Bill, and he was fine with it,” she said.

Many of the 21 students performing in the play were involved with Beeson’s program, and Kilmer said they have adjusted to the changes well.

“I’m really proud of the kids and how they have responded to this,” Kilmer said.

The play will be performed 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Virginia City High School commons. Originally it was going to be performed Wednesday-Friday, but Kilmer said illnesses and other matters forced the changes.

Tickets are $10 for adults; $7 for students and children younger than 12.

“The Tempest” is believed to be the last play written solely by Shakespeare.

“It’s been called a comedy, but it’s more commonly known now as a romance,” she said. “But you can probably combine the terms and call it a romantic comedy.”

She said the play has four plot lines, and only one is a romance.

For those who are not Shakespeare-literate, according to, “The Tempest” combines elements of tragedy with romantic comedy and poses deeper questions that are not completely resolved at the end.

It says the romance genre includes tragic, comic and problematical ingredients and a happy ending in which all, or most, of the characters are brought into harmony.

Kilmer, who took over the department in mid-September, was excited about the production.

“This is exciting, but scary too,” she said. “But I’ve got some really talented young people.”

She said only two of her students are not performing, and they are doing graphics and providing other support.

“They’re all involved onstage and some help with lights and stage works,” she said. “Even if they might not be onstage long or have a speaking role, all are involved.”

They will put their own stamp on “The Tempest,” she said.

One difference is the Muckers’ production will be staged in modern dress, where usually the play is done in 1600s dress.

Kilmer is getting some assistance from the VCHS shop class, which is building the backdrop for the 24-foot stage, but they still need side and front curtain setups.

In taking on this role, Kilmer is continuing a love for theater that began when she was 13 and continued through her adult life.

She has been acting in plays with the Gold Hill Theater Troupe for about six years as well as directing several, including “Vengeance and Vendetta on the Comstock” and “Steel Magnolias.”

“I’ve been fortunate enough that I learned to direct here at the Gold Hill and work with work with Perry (Arnn), who is so knowledgeable,” she said.

Kilmer has also taught fourth grade at Hugh Gallagher Elementary School, and provided services as the district’s reading specialist.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 881-7351.

If You Go

WHAT: “The Tempest” by the Virginia City Theater Muckers

WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Virginia City High School Commons, 95 S. R St., Virginia City

COST: $10 for adults; $7 for students and children under 12.

CALL: 847-0384

Other area school events

• “The Secret Garden” – Dayton High School drama department, 6:30 p.m. Monday in the school’s multipurpose room. Free. Call 246-6240.

• Band and Choir Winter Concert – Dayton High School choirs, jazz band and concert band will perform, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14 in the school’s multipurpose room. Free. Call 246-6240.

• Christmas Concert – Riverview Elementary School choirs will perform, 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the school’s multipurpose room. Free. Call 246-6170.

• Christmas Concert – Hugh Gallagher Elementary School students in Virginia City perform at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 18 at the Virginia City Middle School.

• Christmas Concert – Silver Stage High School band and choir will perform, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 19 at the school. Free. Call 577-5071.

• Music Concert – Fernley Elementary School students to perform, 6 p.m. Thursday at the school. Call 575-3420.

• Kindergarten Christmas fest – Fernley Elementary School kindergarten holiday festival, noon Dec. 21 at the school. Call 575-3420.

• Winter Concert – Cottonwood Elementary School students to perform, 5 p.m. Wednesday at the school. Call 575-3414.

• Christmas programs – Yerington Elementary School, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 17 for kindergarten; 6:30 p.m. Dec. 18 for first and second grades; 6:30 p.m. Dec. 19 for third and fourth grades. Call 463-6844.

• Christmas concert – Yerington Intermediate School fifth- through eighth-grade band and choir concert, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the school. Call 463-6833.

• Winter Concert – Yerington High School choir and band performance, 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Jeanne Dini Cultural Center. Call 463-6822.

• Christmas Concert – Smith Valley School students in grades K-12 perform the annual concert, 7 p.m. Dec. 19 at the school. Call 465-2332.