Photo Courtesy of Justin Eick
By Julia Paccone
Advanced Theatre staged William Shakespeare’s comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on February 21-23 at the La Canada Playhouse. There was also a student matinee on February 24, in which multiple third period classes came to view the play.
Midsummer Night’s Dream was written by Shakespeare around 1595. In the play, Hermia (Alaina Kalb) is in love with Lysander (Andrew Koerber). Her father wants her to marry Demetrius (Elias Figueroa), who Helena (Abby Rosen) is in love with. Hermia and Lysander attempt to run away and get married, but get lost along the way. The Fairy King, Oberon (Jack Jones), and Puck (Mary Alex Daniels) create confusion about who loves who by sprinkling a special love potion into the eyes of Titania (Katie Cunningham), Lysander, and Demetrius. Titania falls in love with Bottom (Cole Weinstein), an actor with donkey ears. Lysander and Demetrius both fall in love with Helena. At the end of the play, Puck sprinkles and ointment into each person’s eyes, returning them to their normal state. Helena ends up marrying Demetrius and Hermia marries Lysander.
Director Justin Eick attempted to make the play, set, and costumes as traditional and historically accurate as possible, while still adding a modern flair. The costumes and set were historically accurate, putting the replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theater to good use. La Canada High School is the only high school in the nation to have a replica of the Globe Theater.
Mr. Eick explained, “We are the only high school in America to have a Shakespeare festival stage in the spirit of an Elizabethan Playhouse. I honestly think that it is important for students studying Shakespeare to have an opportunity to perform the ways that Shakespeare would have performed them during his time.”
Elizabethan-style sets had no scenery, and imagery was created only by props, costumes and the actions of the actors. The costumes the ADV actors wore were replicas of what the actors would wear during Shakespeare’s time. Although the play was set in Athens, the characters would wear the everyday clothing of Elizabethan people.
The actors worked timelessly at after school rehearsals. The play was thrown together in three weeks. The cast went straight from working on Shakesperience to working on the play.
Mikey Selsor, who played Snout the Tinker, one of the Mechanicals, said, “It was so much fun. With all the rehearsals it was kind of annoying but it was so worth it in the end.”
To make sure he delivered his lines well, Mikey Selsor ended up writing them onto his fake wooden arm that he wore throughout the play.
Katie Cunningham said, “Midsummer was super fun. I played the queen of fairies, and it was just a glitter fest with me and all the fairies.”
Throughout rehearsals, the four actors playing the lovers received many bruises while practicing the blocking for the lovers quarrel. Certain parts of the blocking had to be altered because the actors could no longer fall they way they were supposed because of the large bruises on their knees. Multiple actors also had to buy knee pads to wear throughout the show.
Cole Weinstein’s favorite part of the play was “everything associated with the [comedic wedding performance] at the end of the production.”
As Sahil Nandwani, who played Peter Quince, explained, “My favorite part of any show is probably being backstage right before showtime. It’s really fun and truly a bonding experience.”
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