“There’s magic and energy and you’re going to laugh so hard, so come,” Leanna Newell, who portrays Puck in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, implores to anyone who is not sure if they want to see the upcoming production.
Midsummer, as it is often called by the cast, is William Shakespeare’s best known comedy. Its whimsical behavior and lighthearted antics starkly contrast Shakespeare’s other famous works, which most often incorporate tragedy.
This production is the second of the season for The Lyceum Theatre here at Vanguard, and the hard work and effort put into it by the entire team makes it worthwhile. The play tells the tale of four distinct groups, interwoven and brought together by a wedding. The distraught lovers, a band of travelling actors, the fairies who rule the forest, and the Athenian royalty all find themselves interacting with one another in ways none could have foreseen.
The cast, consisting of 22 actors, is quite large for the school, but Gabrielle Incremona from the fairy ensemble describes the experience by saying, “whereas other shows with smaller casts, it can be much more tight knit, but with this play, who you’re grouped with–say mechanicals or the fairies–they connect more.” In fact, in the early stages of production, the different groups rehearsed completely apart!
The Theatre department has dedicated itself to developing this production and incorporating intricate production elements to make this a unique experience. Celeste Filadelfia, who plays the lover Helena, describes the set as an interesting creation, that is “very heavenly and celestial.” Mechanical (as the characters playing actors within the play are called) Stephan Miser elaborates on this, explaining it as “simple but appreciated.” No spoilers here, so no details on the design itself, but just know the set, the elegant costumes, and makeup design are not something anyone will want to miss out on.
The stage manager for the show, sophomore Eileen Leyva, notes her favorite part of the experience has been “seeing them grow character and actor wise and […] seeing them flourish in what God has called them to do.”
Greg Spralding, a senior Theatre major at Vanguard, compares his experience as a mechanical, with his role in last semester’s Shakespeare show, The Winter’s Tale. Fear not, if you found this show intimidating, Greg comments, saying the magic in Midsummer influences the acting, making it a fun “over the top” and “heightened” experience.
Another mechanical, Andreas Smith, adds to this, explaining why no one should be afraid to see this show because of its famous author. “For your first Shakespeare show, Midsummer would be the one,” he begins, “because Shakespeare uses his amazing language–that can be hard to understand–to bring a whole fantastical world and the seemingly boring lifestyle of poor people into one crazy play!”
If you’re still wary or intimidated, or simply uninterested, let these parting words of Pierre Ekladios, who plays the King of the Fairies, reassure you: “this show will be a great break from the stress usually associated with Shakespeare and it’s honestly a fun and joyful production.”
Opening night is October 21st, followed by an open forum to pose questions to the actors. Ticket prices are $15 general admission when purchased in advance on vanguardtickets.com. If there are spots open to buy at the box office directly before the show, Vanguard students have the option of buying them at the door for a discounted price. Better watch out, you will want to reserve your seat before it sells out!