UM students and Shakespeare “Shake it Up”

Actress and writer Marilyn Gresh performs a creative monologue entitled "RED."
Actress and writer Marilyn Gresh performs a creative monologue entitled "RED."

Maybe our English professors are right, though comprised of words from a bygone era, William Shakespeare’s works are culturally relevant today.

That’s what “Shake it Up,” a night of cocktails and Shakespeare-inspired monologues by UM creative writing students, is looking to prove on Friday. A cocktail reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the curtains will rise at the AE District at 8 p.m.

For the event, 23 monologues were written based on lines from the repertoire of England’s most celebrated writer. Ten were ultimately chosen for performance.

“Shakespeare is totally bawdy, funny, tragic and completely relevant,” said Vanessa Garcia, a graduate of the MFA program in creative writing at UM. “Shake it Up” will also have these trademarks.

Garcia, who is the director of The Krane, a visual and dramatic arts company, is co-producing the event with the director of New Light Studio/Gallery, Wendy White. With the help of AE District, Schnebly Redland’s Winery and the MFA program at UM, they hope to use the event to share their vision for a close-knit artist community in Miami and at UM.

Both Garcia and White will be contributing monologues for the event.

UM English Professor A. Manette Ansay is also contributing a piece to the “Shake it Up” lineup, “The Ides of March.”

“I just love the wild variety of contemporary interpretations he continues to inspire,” said Ansay of Shakespeare’s enduring relevancy and legacy.

Megan Casella Roth, a James Michener Fellow in creative writing and a current MFA candidate, is excited for the event. She will be performing her original monologue, “Multi-Purpose Solution.”

“The show pulls together writers from all over, and I think the monologues will be diverse in style and theme and provide a really dynamic show,” she said.

Jeremy Rosenthal may be contacted at