As one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream tells a comedic tale of love and magic. Through an intricately creative mixture of Ancient Greek mythology and British folklore, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is limitless with imaginative possibilities. The comedy follows the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six Mechanicals, all of whom are controlled by the fairies that live in the forest. The Mechanicals, named after their job as skilled manual laborers, who contribute to the comedy’s unique “play-within-a-play” plot structure.
A student-led performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will take place on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Sawyer Quad. Evelyn Elgart ’19 is the director, while Jordan Davis ’17 and Cat Dickinson ’17 are producer and stage manager, respectively. No overhead organization is presenting this production of Shakespeare’s comedy. Instead, Elgart, Davis and Dickinson have worked together to put on this independent performance, whose location outside of the library is fitting for reading period. “We’ve set the play outside of Sawyer [Library] to give Williams students a break from the tension of finals and to provide an opportunity for the fun and celebration that the characters in the play are able to find in their journey,” Dickinson said.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is also refreshing because it includes many cast members who have never acted in a play before. “The play is hilarious … I’m excited for people to see an unconventional showing of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with an unconventional cast,” Ben Stanley ’19, who plays the director of the mechanicals Peter Quince and a fairy, said. Julia Cochran ’19, playing Titania, the fairy queen, agreed with his sentiment. “I don’t do theater, but I did do this and this was pretty good,” she said.
Moreover, one aspect, which is often overlooked is that Shakespeare is funny. “It can be easy to miss his (often obscene) humor when studying his plays in the classroom, and it has been a joy to find new jokes during every rehearsal,” Dickinson said. Oliva Larsen ’17, who plays the lover Hermia, agreed. “This version of Midsummer is, above all, playful! In romping around the marble blocks, chasing one another and heighting the wit and humor of Shakespeare’s words, we allow the aburdity of the play to come through,” she said.
Since, as Dickinson explained, “Shakespeare plays have been done in every time period and in every setting,” the trio decided to set their version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on a 1970s college campus. To this effect, audience members are given both a familiar experience and also “the unfamiliarity, magic and nostalgia that comes from setting a play in the past,” Dickinson said. This production is original in that it incorporates a jazz band that will play live during the show. “The musicians are so talented, and their energy bolsters the fun and spontaneity inherent to the play,” Dickinson said. With Caley Dickinson ’19, who plays the Mechanical Snug and the fairy Cobweb, as music director, Christina Cleroux ’18 will be on the drums, Jeff Pearson ’20 on guitar, Jack Ferguson ’17 on bass, David Azzara ’19 on the saxophone, Mariama Ndiaye ’17 as the lead vocalist and Will Doyle ’19, band leader, on the trombone.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream celebrates youthfulness and finding freedom outside of society’s restrictive rules, which we must certainly embrace as exams approach us. Dickinson promises that you will certainly enjoy this “laugh-out-loud” comedy, as the directors have “milked Shakespeare for all of his comedic genius” in order to present this spectacular play. “Expect laughs, magic, love and jazz.”
‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ will take place this Saturday at 7 p.m. in front of Sawyer Library. Photo courtesy of Jordan Davis.