Rochester Memorial students to visit King Arthur's Camelot

By Andrea Ray | Apr 29, 2018
Photo by: Andrea Ray "I chew gum when I'm nervous, and you guys are making me really nervous!" time-traveler Hank Morgan says to King Arthur's knights in the RMS production of "A Stranger in Camelot."

Rochester — A confused Sir Kay, a member of King Arthur's Round Table, wanders onstage, a toilet seat draped around his neck. "Does anyone know how to work this thing?" he asks.

The rather original necklace is a gift from Hank Morgan, a 21st-century visitor to King Arthur's court.

Morgan's adventures in the sixth century are chronicled in Rochester Memorial School's production of "A Stranger in Camelot," which is based on the Mark Twain novel, "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court."

The performance is the first one directed by Rochester Memorial teacher Karen DellaCioppa. DellaCioppa is stepping into the shoes of Danni Kleiman, a longtime Rochester Memorial teacher who retired last year. Kleiman had traditionally directed a Shakespeare performance each year, and DellaCioppa decided to succeed her with a Twain classic.

"It's really exciting...and really nerve-wracking," she said of her directorial debut.

Morgan, in this telling of the story, is a Rochester Memorial School student and an avid tinkerer and inventor. He's working on a prop for a play that the stage director refuses to use.

After a fight with the director, Morgan wakes up in Camelot. Seen as a "strange monster," he is taken prisoner by the Knights of the Round Table. The knights wonder what the heck is in Morgan's mouth (it's chewing gum) and point their swords at him, convinced that he's a monster. "I chew gum when I'm nervous," Morgan says, "and you guys are making me very nervous."

After witnessing Merlin's magic, Morgan uses his modern knowledge to convince the court that he is a magician too.

"I was learning about solar eclipses in class, and I remember that there actually was one here in the year 528, on June 19th," he notes, plotting to use his knowledge to make it appear as if he can control the sun. "Oh man, my history teacher was right!"

After winning over the court (and the ire of Merlin, suddenly reduced to using his magic abilities to forecast the weather), Hank is renamed "Sir Hank Morgan of Rochester, Massachusetts."

That's a bit of a wordy title, according to Hank. "What about...Sir Boss?"

And thus, the newly-minted Sir Boss finds himself walking directly into a trap set by a jealous Merlin and King Arthur's half-sister Morgan Le Fay, who in him sees her chance to take over Camelot.

The play will run on Friday, May 4 at 7 p.m.

The show is approximately 90 minutes long.  There will be a 15 minute intermission between the two acts on Friday night.  Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.  They can be purchased at the door or reserved ahead of time by contacting Karen DellaCioppa at karendellacioppa@oldrochester.org.

A gift to Sir Kay, from "Sir Boss": "Does anyone know how to use this thing?" (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
King Arthur officially recognizes "Sir Boss." (Photo by: Andrea Ray)
Merlin is not thrilled about being reduced to predicting the weather on Camelot TV. (Photo by: Andrea)
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