From fairies and glitter to relationship drama, Shakespeare’s weirdest fantasy takes shape in the form of this year’s annual fall play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Set in ancient Athens, the play follows the journey of a number of different main characters while they navigate the ups and downs of relationships and boundaries.
According to Ms. Meacham, the director of the production, the story begins with an arranged marriage.
“Essentially a woman, Hermia, is not allowed to marry who she loves, but rather she is supposed to marry someone that her father has chosen for her,” Meacham said. “Instead, she and the person she loves, named Lysander, escape to the forest.”
While Meacham made no changes to the overall plot of the story, the composition of the play was altered in the way in which roles were cast. Oberon and Lysander, two roles typically written as male characters, are played by female actors, Meacham said.
Jolie Mahr, Div. 161, plays the role of Oberon. Mahr says that it is not unlike Meacham to explore concepts such as gender and sexuality in Lane productions.
“I think that a lot of it is trying to put a twist on Shakespeare, which I’ve seen done a lot in other productions,” Mahr said. “I think that it’s what makes the story unique in our performance, with the way we address that concept very directly.”
Paddy Berger, Div. 177, plays the part of Nick Bottom, a weaver known to be very over the top and dramatic. According to Berger, the play takes the stories of multiple characters and weaves them together in a way that allows for a very lead-heavy cast.
“It has, I would say, six different leads, which is awesome because there’s a whole lot of shows where there’s just one character and everyone else is sort of just there on the sides,” Berger said. “This show is really good in sharing the spotlight between characters. You have all of the Lovers and the Fairies and the Mechanicals and no one is overshadowed by the other.”
Berger, who has been a part of Lane theater productions since his freshman year, said that having so many leads added stress to actors that did not have doubles, as the play would be incomplete should they miss rehearsal.
This fear of missed rehearsals was only further heightened due to the near two-week long strike.
While, initially, Mahr was worried about how it would impact the production, the cast was able to work around the strike and stick to a rehearsing schedule. Students made use of space at Second City, a Comedy and Theater Club located Downtown.
Mahr said that the out-of-school rehearsals that took place during the strike ultimately improved the production.
“We were able to work with each other and give feedback to each other and we definitely were able to get to know each other better, and I feel like that really helped us because now we’re a very strong community,” Mahr said.
According to Meacham, one of her favorite things about this play, in particular, is seeing how the actors have so fully embodied their characters and embraced the goofiness of the play. Meacham said she is most excited for over all the drama and over the top comedy packed into the 90-minute play.
“I really do hope the kids enjoy this play because it’s certainly the easiest to understand of all of Shakespeare’s plays,” Meacham said. “It’s just relationship drama and then a really silly play within a play scene.”
The production will take place on Nov. 12 and 13 at 3:45 PM and Nov. 14 and 15 at 7:00 p.m.