In the second main show of the Dorman Theatre Department‘s 2017-18 season, a classic Shakespearean comedy is brought to the Dorman stage. Director Pam Haloulos takes the helm on the production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Out of all of Shakespeare’s works, Haloulos thought that Midsummer was the “most fun and audience friendly.”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream follows two sets of lovers, some magical fairies, and a makeshift theatre company. While the original play takes place in ancient Athens, Greece, Zach Urban’s beautifully designed set takes the audience to 1900’s Athens, Georgia. The setting contains all three of these groups of characters as they are interwoven into a hilarious comedy.
Despite the multiple plot lines, this adaptation of the play seamlessly presents its source material in a coherent way. Everything flows together and makes sense to the viewer. Part of this is definitely due to how unique and entertaining each group is and the chemistry the actors share.
First are the four lovers and Theseus’ Court. Egeia (Tenaee’ Simpson), Hermia’s stepmother, wants Hermia (Maria Gajdosik) to marry Demetrius (Trey Westbrook). Demetrius is in love with Hermia while Hermia is in love with Lysander (Zach Urban). To complicate things even further, Helena (Leena Bishop) is in love with Demetrius.
As the more magical elements of the play are introduced, we meet the mischievous Puck (Kalista Pederson). Pederson does a great job making this character stand out. The sheer energy in the movement makes it difficult to not pay attention to this character when Puck is on stage. Puck’s magical antics lead to the lovers switching roles and both men end up in love with Helena. Puck sets Lysander after Helena with love juice instead of Demetrius. Oberon (Alex Davis, the King of the Fairies, does the same to Demetrius.
Westbrook and Urban both become almost entirely new characters as they chase after Helena. The way Lysander threatens his former love, Hermia, and fights Demetrius over Helena show a different character than we had seen previously. This shift only adds to the comedy as we see Demetrius and Lysander fall all over the ground for Helena.
The next group are the fairies, led by their Queen, Titania (Kit Lindsey). The fairies include Peaseblossom (Julia Richardson), Cobweb (Alex Jones), Moth (Matti Lawson), Mustardseed (Hope Rollins), Dandelion (Alliyah Jeter), Acorn (Sally Jolly), and Dewdrop (Evelyn Shrader). The fairies worked very well together and Rollins’ dance choreography was a very smart way to make the fairies’ movement interesting and dynamic.
The fairies’ costumes are magical yet still feel at home in the backdrop of 1900’s Athens, Georgia. Oberon’s costume specifically has a very outlandish look while still seeming right at home within the play.
The third group of characters are the Mechanicals, a theatre company getting ready to perform their rendition of the story of Pyramus and Thisbe for Theseus’ Court. The comedic chemistry within this group was honestly the best of the production. It seemed as if every time Nick Bottom (Asher Honeycutt) opened his mouth I could not help but laugh.
The culmination of the play is their finished production. During this part the laughter did not end. The Mechanicals’ production is an absolute wreck. Francis Flute (Perrion Porter) gets the part of Thisbe and is forced to be Nick Bottom’s love interest since Bottom got the part of Pyramus. Theseus criticizes Robin Starveling (Don Nash) as he attempts to represent the moonlight and the ‘man in the man.’ Tom Snout (Cooper Beck) plays the wall between Thisbe and Pyramus and creates even more hilarity in the way that the performers bring their story to life. The play within a play ends with the suicides of both of the lovers and, despite the emotional weight this should have, the theatre company also ruins that. Bottom drives his sword through himself not one but three times before actually kicking the bucket. Flute’s overacted Thisbe goes as far as reading the stage directions and making her discovering of her lover’s body laughable.
All throughout this disaster, Peter Quince (Ty Ferris) tries to keep everything under control. Theseus is not pleased with the Mechanicals and they awkwardly dance away to avoid execution.
This Shakespearean comedy was well done and I applaud the cast. There were times when I lost what they were saying due to the Shakespearean language but I could still follow the events of the play due to how well the actor’s played their characters. The Dorman Theater Department continues to bring top notch productions to a high school stage. If you have never seen one of their shows, you are surely missing out.
The next DTD production will be Touchtone M for Murder (February 1-3) and audition for the musical, Wizard of Oz, will be held January 23rd and 24th.