OBU Theatre presents Shakespeare’s comedy: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ using aerials, magical lighting

By Morgan Jackson, Assistant Arts Editor

Thursday, Nov. 1, OBU Theatre opened their production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare.

Performances continue this week through Nov. 11.

The premise of the show is complex and whimsical: four lovers Hermia and Demetrius, Lysander and Helena get themselves mixed up in some magical affairs in the course of one eventful night.

As they attempt to unravel their romantic (and later somewhat otherworldly) complexities, the audience shares the experience–in all its glory.

The success of the play can certainly be characterized by both the casts’ performances and the set construction itself.

For example, OBU Theatre’s production of the play is characterized by very impressive technical elements including the lighting and costuming.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the show, aside from the character choices made by the actors, is the entirety of the experience.

It is something best appreciated in person, but for those who might not be able to make it to the show: the set is a forest made up of picturesque light and a giant set of rocks (see right).

The lighting design featured various hues of yellow, green and blue to create a magical atmosphere of the forest.

The audience’s first impression when walking into the Craig-Dorland Theatre is the sound of thematic music playing and the full view of the set.

This setting mirrors the plot of the play: simple yet nuanced, light and layered.

Senior Scott Roberts designed the set, and Alyssa Couturier, professor Jake Yenish, Chase Hendrickson, Emily Coley, Adam S. McCollough, Jesse Couturier-Herndon, Maritza Jaimes, Taylor Benjamin, Kelsi Guleserian, Kendra Johnson, Lillias McManus, Emily Kustka and Court Haygarth all served as technicians who brought that design to life.

In the opening of the play, the audience learns what becomes the primary struggle throughout the majority of the production: Hermia is in love with Lysander, but her father wants her to marry Demetrius, which creates the opportunity for magical beings to get involved.

Two very powerful fairies are key components of the play; Oberon and Titania rule the magical forest together. In this production, Oberon and Titania are played by Arthur Schwab and Meghan Haynes. They each gave an excellent performance and created chemistry between the characters.

The duo also completed a beautiful dance number, choreographed by Amy Nevius, toward the end of the show.

Titania’s fairy peers include Alexandra Frank as Peaseblossom, Erin Loyd as Cobweb, Rachel Campbell as Moth, Anna Smolen as Mustardseed and Emma Greathouse as Mushroom.

Additionally, other actors create a quality cast.

Lillias McManus plays Peter Quince, Cara Burnet is Snug, Kendra Johnson is Robin Starvelin and Samuel Hawkins is Tom Snout.

Grant McGee plays Nick Bottom, and Garrett Wheeler plays his counterpart, Francis Flute.

Chase Hendrickson is Theseus, Larashleigh Wallace is Hippolyta, Caleb Frank is Egeus and Kimberlie McCutcheon plays Philostrate.

With such a full and robust cast, this ideation of the comedy is multifaceted and entertaining.

The show is also filled with bittersweet moments between Hermia and Lysander, played by Bayleigh Platter and Noble Adams-Nabors.

Their performance exuded a youthful energy and power in both their speech and movement.

Anna Tyler delivered a very believable performance of Helena.

She was absolutely wonderful and was so obviously committed to her role; every line she delivered was filled with energy and dedication to the character.

All the actors expertly played into the relationships that unfold throughout the performance.

In the play, a group of ac-tors work together to create a new play for the wedding of the king and queen.

This acting troupe is essential to the storyline and provides excellent comedy during some of the more tense moments in the show.

The groups’ comedic timing and commitment to their odd characters made these scenes some of the standouts of the evening.

Also absolutely essential to the show is Puck, a playful sprite played by McKenzie Reece.

Reece’s physicality in this production is one of the most impressive facets of the production. She leapt and sprint-ed across the stage, making Puck an interesting and believable forest sprite.

Puck also plays a vital role in some of the mischief that ensues in the forest.

Other imp-like characters include Moss, played by Adam S. McCollough, and Vines, played by Zachary Hill.

Another impressive element of the show involved aerial performances by members of the cast, especially the dark and light fairies.

Aerial silks were suspended above the set and allowed for the creation of beautiful, almost ethereal movements.

Such an addition definitely enhanced the overall magical quality of the forest setting and created a unique interpretation of Shakespeare’s sprites.

Other production assistants who contributed to the performance are Amy Nevius, Ashley Hontz, Angel Goodrich, Katelyn Onkst, Emily Ramos, Mackenzie Camp, Autumn Morris, Brianna Lincoln and Joshua Brunet.

This production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” runs through Nov. 11. Ticket prices for general admission, and only 5 dollars for students. For ticket information, visit okbu.edu/theatre

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