This semester’s second mainstage production was one of William Shakespeare’s most memorable comedies, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
The play, directed by Lauren Bone Noble, revolves around love and magic and takes you to a dream-like world full of mysticism and romance. Walking into the theatre, you are taken right into the enchanted forest world of Athens that the play is set in, where you are introduced to the trifles of Hermia (Ciarra Fragale), Lysander (Madison Anthony), Demetrius (Brandan Haslam-Brown) and Helena (Deanna Casanas). Hermia is in love with Lysander but is being forced by her father Egeus (Adam Abdelaziz) to marry Demetrius. Hermia’s friend, Helena, is in love with Demetrius, but he loves Hermia. The confusing mix of love triangles unites the play and forwards the action, as King Oberon of the fairies (Andres Rodriguez) uses potions and tricks with his fairy servant Puck (Olivia Whalen-Kipp) to try and solve the crises and even teach his partner, Queen Titania of the fairies (Bria Walker) a lesson, which only results in an array of hilarious chaos.
Meanwhile, Shakespeare cleverly incorporates a play within the play by having a theatre troupe directed by Peter Quince (Kai Junn Lathrop) prepare to perform “Pyramus and Thisbe” for King Theseus of Athens. Hilarity ensues here as the actors of the troupe, Nick Bottom (Zach Gibson), Francis Flute (Kayla Samantha Dietz), Tom Snout (Dennis Wakeman), Snug the Joiner (Sara Gomez) and Robin Starveling (Fatou Fall) work on rehearsals but face a lot of dysfunction.
An interesting tidbit of the show was the amount of unique accents each character had. Each actor in the theatre troupe had a distinct speech, which added an interesting layer to understanding the play. In these sections of the play, the comedic timing was spectacular and not a single joke fell short with the audience. This ragtag team of characters complimented each other very well due to the actor’s attention to comedic detail and careful conjunction of physical and verbal comedy.
All the actors worked excellently together, and the time and concentration in the rehearsal process is evident. Bringing Shakespeare to a modern audience always proves difficult since the language is so far separated from our understanding, which can change how jokes are recepted by the audience. Comedic timing in a play like “Midsummer” is essential to advancing through the script, and the actors hardwork and dedication to memorization and understanding of the lines really brings the show to a high point. The actors were committed and it showed throughout the entire show, keeping the audience chuckling the entire time.
The set was incredibly beautiful just upon walking in, and the lighting and sound made the show even more spectacular. Set Designer Sarice Olson perfectly brought the audience to a magical new world with the intriguing dark forest and had the entire stage at play. Lighting Designer Jack Wade and Sound Designer Sun Hee Kil made the show’s mysticism even brighter, allowing the audience to enter the world of fairies effortlessly. The costumes fit with the time period and were specific to every character, while keeping the theme of marvelously magical in every aspect of the production.
The whole show is extraordinarily dreamy in all aspects and grants the audience an escape from reality to enter a fairy filled world of love, magic and mischief.