Shakespeare Festival St Louis - In the News

The Thousand Natural Shocks

Presented as part of In the Works in November 2018.

Written by Michael López-Sáenz
Staged Reading Directed by Kern McFadden


An adaptation of his novel by the same name, The Thousand Natural Shocks is a moving coming-of-age story about a teen who finds himself through his high school production of Hamlet, written by Michael López-Sáenz. Please note that this production is a staged reading.

About Michael López-Sáenz

Michael López-Sáenz is an actor, director, playwright and teaching artist in New York City. He has twelve years’ experience as a high school drama teacher, and as a teaching artist he has worked in schools throughout New York City and New Jersey. His play Möbius premiered at the New York International Fringe Theatre Festival and The Thousand Natural Shocks is an adaptation of his first novel by the same name.



Cody Aaron (Adriana) is a native of St. Louis, MO and is proud to make her SFSTL debut in The Thousand Natural Shocks. Aaron is a teaching artist at the Center of Creative Arts (COCA) where she teaches acting and vocal music. She has worked with the Muny in shows like Aida and Les Miserables. She most recently appeared as Sarah in COCA’s production of Ragtime and as JoAnn in New Line Theatre’s production of Rent! 

Alegra Batara (Phaedre, Amanda, Stacey) is honored to be making her Shakespeare Festival St. Louis debut! An avid lover of words and a firm believer in the power of theatre to heal, she is truly so excited to be bringing this story to life. Alegra is a native of Seattle, Washington and is earning her BFA in Musical Theater from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University. Love to Mom, Dad, Jaden, and her WebCo loves.

Will Bonfiglio (Adult Charles) is thrilled to work with Shakespeare Festival St. Louis! Some favorite regional productions include The Importance of Being Earnest (Insight Theatre Company), Old Wicked Songs (New Jewish Theatre), and Buyer & Cellar (Stray Dog Theatre), for which he won the St. Louis Theatre Circle Award for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy.

Cameron DuVall (Dieter, Joe, Jacob) is a Sophomore at Webster University. He is currently pursuing his BFA in Musical Theatre. This is his first production with the Shakespeare festival of St. Louis. He is beyond excited to be blessed with such an amazing opportunity. He would like to thank the production staff, his incredible cast mates, and his loving family for their constant support. Enjoy!

Jacob Flekier (Philip, Stewart) is so excited to be making his debut with Shakes Fest! Jacob is a Senior musical theatre major at Webster Conservatory. Credits include: Newsies (Grandstreet Theatre), 9 to 5, Joseph…Dreamcoat (STAGES St. Louis), A Streetcar Named Desire, Will Mr. Merriwether Return from Memphis (Tennessee Williams Festival STL), [title of show], Brigadoon, The Drowsy Chaperone(Webster Conservatory). Thanks to everyone at Shakespeare Festival for this opportunity!

Michael Cassidy Flynn (Teachers, Old Man) is thrilled to return to Shakespeare Festival St. Louis where he last played Sebastian in The World Begun. His recent credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream with SIUE Summer Theatre and Luchadora! with Mustard Seed Theatre and Theatre Nuevo. Other regional credits include The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Metro Theater Company, Max and Louie Productions, SATE Ensemble Theatre, Equally Represented Arts (ERA), The Midnight Company and more.

Esmeralda Garza (Ms. Vasquez) is very excited to be working with the Shakespeare Festival again! She was last seen on the Rep stage in Evita and in Romeo & Juliet at Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. Originally from Alamo, Texas, Esmeralda is currently a third year musical theatre student at the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University.

Karl Hawkins (Young Charles) is delighted to be returning to Shakespeare Festival St. Louis for In The Works. Previously with the Festival, he appeared in Romeo & Juliet and the 2018 Education Tour. A St. Louis native, Hawkins holds a BFA from the Conservatory of Theatre & Dance at Southeast Missouri State University. Selected credits: Julius Caesar (Anniston Shakespeare Project), The Tempest (St. Louis Shakespeare) and In The Heights (R-S Theatrics) To Thine Own Self Be True!

Jonathan Mette (Porter) is an up and coming actor excited to be part of his first production with Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. He recently was a part of the COCA production of West Side Story, directed by Jim Butz, as a featured dancer and the Jet’s strong man, Diesel. Outside of acting, Mette performs on the improv team with Comedy Sportz and writes jazz piano pieces for local musicians.

Carl Overly Jr. (Peter, Chet) is thrilled to be back at Shakespeare Festival St Louis  after appearing as Andrew in the SITS production of “The World Begun” in Old North. Carl has worked locally with numerous companies including, SATE, The Black Rep, Metro Theater Co., Mustard Seed Theater, ERA, among others. He is honored to work on this new work and would like to thank the entire cast and crew for a wonderful experience. #goseeaplay

Michael Tran (Nels, Thomas, Howard, Duane) is thrilled to be making his St. Louis Shakespeare Festival debut. He is currently a sophomore at Webster Conservatory pursuing a BFA in Acting. As a St. Louis local, he’s performed in the ensembles at The MUNY (Aida, 2016) and Opera Theatre of St. Louis (La Traviata, 2018). The best role he’s had is as an older brother to Timothy. Much love to his family and many thanks to Kat, Ben, and DDP.

Erin Renée Roberts (Sammy) is a multi-faceted performance artist. She obtained her BFA in Theater-Acting from Cornish College of the Arts. Alongside her work as a performance art maker, Erin is also a LMT and advocate of alternative healing, stress-reduction and relaxation for artists and creatives through her massage therapy practice. Follow her upcoming ventures on Instagram @thecreativeinhabitor and @witness.fest


Creative Team

Kern McFadden (Director, The Thousand Natural Shocks) is an actor and director.  He has acted off-Broadway in numerous productions at The Irish Repertory Theatre and The Pearl Theatre Company and regionally all across the United States.  As a director Kern has helped develop a touring program in conjunction with NYU/Tisch and The Stella Adler Studio which performs at underserved schools, community centers, and jails throughout the NYC area. BFA The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University / MFA The Old Globe/USD actor training program.

Emma Prange (Stage Manager) is thrilled to return to Shakespeare Festival for In the Works after her time as the PA for Romeo and Juliet. Other stage management credits include The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Shooting Star Productions, Ignite Theatre Company and The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University where she is pursuing a BFA in Stage Management. Many thanks to the whole company for their hard work! It’s been a pleasure!