This article was originally printed in the December 2, 2022 issue of The Pilot.
The theater department’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was the event to be at before Thanksgiving Break. A collaboration of the England abroad group and the Theatre & Dance department, the play created by William Shakespare in 1600 resulted in a high-quality, highly comical performance featuring talented students, faculty, and staff. Before diving deeper, let me introduce you to the enchanted world of a not-to-be-missed Shakespeare classic.
If we had to summarize the play, the following sentence recited by Oberon (Matthew Rice) should do the job: “Think no more of this night’s accidents, but as the fierce vexation of a dream.” Oberon is king of the Fairies and his words – from the fourth act of the play – are no exaggeration. The night that just ended was… eventful, to say the least. But with a myriad of magical tricks and a few intriguing flowers (technically called “love-in-idleness” or “wild pansies”), no protagonist should recall what occurred in this mystical forest.
In short, Hermia (Gloria Flowers) fled with Lysander (Sebastian Vucinovich) in the woods to avoid a forced marriage with Demetrius (Josh Baker). It doesn’t stop there, though. Helena (Kaitlyn Kraack) followed her beloved Demetrius anyway, eager to make him love her instead. Meanwhile, in the heart of the sylva, Oberon and Titania (Victoria Geyer) were constantly quarreling. Following an argument, the king of the Fairies sent his tricksy Puck (Nathan Babcock) to fetch flowers that could make people instantly fall in love. In the play, different plots cleverly interlaced and highlighted a wide range of temperaments and characters, from the obstinate Egeus (Niklas Peschke) to the proud Nick Bottom (Jacob Sablan).
The tone of the play directed by Chrissy Steele was set as soon as Philostrate (John Williams) appeared on stage with a big hat. He only said a few words, but his unexpected, droll participation would establish a pattern for what came next: surprises, jokes, and mischief.
With a Celtic folklore background, a touch of Greek mythology, and a nod to medieval guilds, the cast skillfully portrayed complex characters over more than two hours.
Understanding Shakespeare’s English was not a walk in the park. Some sentences were so cryptic, some words were so ancient, that I’d have struggled to understand a few scenes without the amazing acting from everyone involved. The team was dedicated and sincere, making the play a delight to attend.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” ended with a play-within-the-play led by carpenter Peter Quince (Jaxen Halsey) for the final wedding. In there, Francis Flute (Boone Steele) embodied a lady who was grieving her late lover. The rhythm and accuracy of the cast made this scene one of the funniest of the entire play. After the bursts of laughter and the hearty applause, one would’ve thought that a dream, a comedy bubble, had just ended. Many in the audience would’ve probably liked to stay a bit longer in this mystical forest, full of fairies and magic.