Eleanor Bogart-Stuart staff writer
Max Yera staff writer
This past Friday at the Beverly Salter Theater, the theater program brought Shakespeare to life in its first showing of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Although to most students Shakespeare brings to mind analysis essays and long nights on Sparknotes trying to understand how “bite my thumb” could possibly be an insult, the actors actually managed to engage the primarily teen audience.
The play itself is nevertheless true to the original as it doesn’t have one decisive main character, or even a main plot. Instead, it was divided around three individual subplots. Although these different storylines dabbled in drama and fantasy, a pleasantly surprising amount of the play focused on comedy. This kind of variety makes it something that can be enjoyed by anyone–as long as you are willing to commit what most would consider a complicated plot.
While Puck, played by senior Isaac Spector, assists the fairy king Oberon, played by senior Scott Senior, in getting revenge on his fairy wife, noblemen Lysander, played by senior P.J. Goolsby, and Demetrius, played by Tristan McIntyre, are caught in a nasty love circle with ladies Hermea, played by senior Ella Tat, and Helena, played by senior Alex Smith. Both of these stories are regularly intercut with a glimpses of a group of too-eager Athenians who, led by the ongoing and futile efforts of leader Owen Lloyd, attempt to put together a play to impress the Duke.
Credit must be given to the actors who learned to speak Elizabethan English only a couple months after school began. However, for those of us not familiar with Shakespearean prose, it was slightly difficult to follow such an intricate plot. The cast, however, did an exemplary job at bridging the language gap with their acting skills.
There were a few particular performances that stood out from the rest. Austin Friedberg played an essential part in Oberon’s revenge against his wife. Friedberg’s comedic timing shined even when his head was inside the donkey mask that Oberon’s wife was forced to fall in love with. Lloyd’s exasperated efforts at leading the rag-tag group of actors was a highlight, along with Spector’s over-the-top sexual advances on seemingly every woman in the play. Tat and Smith also provided some well-timed comic relief during their dramatic cat fight.
However, at times, particularly towards the beginning of the show, a student may find him/herself rather lost in the plot. At such a point, this student may find his/her mind drifting back to those endless class discussions of Shakespeare’s literature and the hours spent on the internet attempting to figure out what that literature meant. Yet if this ever becomes the case, that student immediately finds their mind once again focused on the play as he/she finds him/herself laughing with those beside them at the comedy routines of Friedberg, Lloyd, Spector, or any of the other hilariously gifted students in this truly comedic play.
Therefore, although it takes a fair amount of focus to figure out what exactly is going on during the play, it’s entirely worth it. Under the direction of theater director Dr. Brad Vincent, this cast put on a surreal and hilarious show. Be sure to get a seat at the Salter Theater at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24 or Saturday, Sept. 26, at which time tickets will be $20 for reserved seating, $15 for reserved seating, $10 for adults, $5 for students, and $1 for students with an ASB card.