East Brunswick resident inspired by characters in all-female Shakespeare play


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Portraying the role of Portia, Amani Alnababteh of East Brunswick co-starred in Brookdale Community College Performing Arts Center‘s play “When Shakespeare’s Ladies Meet.”

The light-hearted comedy, authored by Charles George, imagines an encounter between Shakespeare heroines Juliet, Ophelia, Cleopatra, Portia, Katharine and Desdemona, who come together to discuss Juliet’s blossoming love for Romeo. Throughout the one-act play, each woman offers young Juliet her own advice on the best approach to a new romance, according to a prepared statement from Brookdale Community College.

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The cast features Alnababteh as Portia; Amanda Canny, of Middletown, as Katharine; Theresa Maxwell, of Middletown, as Ophelia; Samantha McClelland, of Freehold, as Desdemona; Sophia Parola, of Manalapan, as Cleopatra; and Charlee Reiff, of Ocean Township, as Juliet. The play was directed by Brookdale Community College Theater Professor John Bukovec, according to a prepared statement.

The all-female cast performed the play from Feb. 9-18 at Brookdale’s Lincroft campus.

An East Brunswick resident for 10 years, Alnababteh said this is her second year at Brookdale where she is majoring in creative writing.

“‘When Shakespeare’s Ladies Meet,’ sounded like an extremely fun and engaging play. With my love for William Shakespeare, as well as acting, I decided to audition. Each character is strong and very important to the story, but I am honored to have played Portia for that I not only got to research and understand such an amazing character, but I have also learned and grown tremendously from this process,” she said.

Alnababteh said she has always had an interest in acting, taking part in a few plays in high school. After taking classes with John Bukovec, she said she realized she had to pursue her passion.

“Portia is the heroine of William Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice.’ Her beauty is matched by her intelligence. In her father’s will, she is forced to marry the suitor who chooses the correct casket, which happens to be her true love, Bassanio. In the play, Portia’s cleverness leads her to disguise herself as a lawyer in order to save Antonio, Bassanio’s friend, from Shylock,” Alnababteh said.

Being the intelligent woman who Portia is, Alnababteh said, “She goes into Juliet’s situation with the thought that everything will be settled with wit and clear-headed thinking. She advises Juliet that having only one suitor cannot possibly be enough to fully understand what she could be looking for. Towards the end of the play, Portia understands that Juliet is her own person and despite all the advice she gets, Juliet remains to follow her instincts.”

Alnababteh said there were many things that she enjoyed about being involved with this play.

“The thing I loved the most, I would have to say, was the process. Being surrounded with such talented and passionate people created this perfect environment of growth. Each person brought their own individual process which made the overall buildup to the production grow. Everyone worked so well together and I truly believe everyone had been cast perfectly for their role. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way,” Alnababteh said.

Alnababteh said she plans on auditioning for future productions. She said she is very excited to see what the future has in store and with passion and dedication, anything is possible.

For more information, visit www.brookdalecc.edu/pac/.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.

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