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Shakespeare coming to CHS

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Shakespeare coming to CHS

Hayley Koontz, 12 and Kara Ragan, 12

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The course of true love never did run smooth,” Act I, Scene I.

The drama department will present A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare on February 24 at 7:30 PM and February 25 at 2:00 PM. Admission is $5 for students and $7 for adults. The Shakespearean play follows the romantic misadventures of Athenian royalty, the hijinks of meddling fairies, and the confusing search for what is true and what is only an illusion of truth.

The performance will mark the first time in Circle High School’s history that a play by Shakespeare performed by students.

“I really like it (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) because it’s somewhat of a classic. There’s some really good literature in it and it’s funny. It shows the best of Shakespeare. Once I started studying some of the parts I got really excited because I really like acting and creating characters,” Kate Harter, 11, said. “(The storyline) is confusing at first, but once you understand it you have a lot of funny scenes and there’s the whole ‘love thing’, which is not my favorite, but Shakespeare does it really well.”

According to director Justin Ralph, playgoers may recognize some aspects of the production from other more recent works.

“It’s a familiar story; people don’t realize that they know the story because the play is one of his most popular. The most popular fiction out there copies elements of it and the structure of it, so it’s going to feel familiar to audience members,” Ralph said. “I consider it a plot braid. A bunch of characters weave in and out to create one through line thread of story. That’s going to be a challenge, conveying all the little intricacies of the plot and how they then come together at the end.”

Sam Cerney, 12, cast as the meddlesome fairy Puck, is eager to see how the stage and the characters will portray the story.

“(I’m excited about) getting to see the set and costumes. I hope they’re going to be very dreamlike for the fantasy,” Cerney said. “I think it’s really cool versus your more realistic plays where you could dress in street clothes and it would be just as good, but this one you put a little more effort into it.”  

The directors decision to cut the play down significantly from its original length for reasons of practicality, according to assistant director Sara Linscomb. Linscomb hopes that the production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will encourage students to change their mindset about watching or reading Shakespearean plays.

“(The production) will hopefully lighten some people’s point of view about Shakespeare. People automatically hear that and kind of groan, so maybe if they see kids their age doing it, it will help their perspective,” Linscomb said.

Shakespeare’s play langauge is written in rhyme and old English, which will be a challenge to do, according to Cerney.

“I think maybe (iambic pentameter will be hard) for some parts because it is Shakespeare, so you’re going to try and read it like you’re reciting Shakespeare; but in the play you just kind of want to slip it in instead of when you’re be reciting a poem, (when) you want to make sure the rhyme is stressed. When you’re reading a play script you don’t stress the rhyming,” Cerney said.

Harter, who also participated in the musical Oklahoma this past fall, was cast as the fairy queen, Titania, in the spring production.

“Trying to find that student chemistry is going to be different than it was in the musical. I’m excited because I’ve never done the play; it has a lot of self-interpretation and other interpretations and it takes a lot of creativity. (I’m looking forward to) creating my own character, the costumes, and seeing how everybody’s vision turns out on stage,” Harter said.

Ralph chose A Midsummer Night’s Dream to challenge student actors to perform in a classical style and because the play is in the public domain, it is not necessary to buy rights to the play.

“I’m really looking forward to growing with the students as an educator and a director. My expectations are that if I can teach the students to understand what they’re saying and convey it through their character and emotions, then the audience will follow along better,” Ralph said. “I want (the audience) to have a good time, like if they were going to see a movie or came to see the musical. Our goal at the end of the day is to entertain, so even if they don’t understand what’s happening at least they were entertained.”

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