By: Aiyana Moore ~Staff Writer~
Love, obsession and jealousy follow four crisscrossed lovers as they venture into an enchanted fairy forest in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Now, with help from theater professional Jeremy Dubin of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Xavier’s theater department joins with the magic and humor in Shakespeare’s most famous comedy. “We like to do a big, classic play at least every two years,” Stephen Skiles, director of theatre, said. “We were due for another Shakespeare.”
With the help of Dubin, who directs Xavier’s production of “Midsummer,” the theater department wasted no time in moving forward with the play. “Midsummer,” which keeps all of Shakespeare’s language intact, has updated scenery.
Even though the original language is unchanged, the audience, according to Skiles, should come prepared to expect not only energy, speed and fun, but to be surprised and shocked as well. “I don’t think that anybody is expecting what we are about to do,” Hannah Sheppard, who plays Titania, said.
“Jeremy’s ideas of the play are very 2015 and pretty crazy,” Skiles said. “Two words: forest rave.” However as fun as it is for the actors to play and for the audience to watch, the signficance comes from the experience that the students get.
“We wrote our new theater degree around one really simple idea,” Skiles said. “We wanted to make sure that we have professional collaborations for our students in all areas.”
Having Jeremy Dubin direct ‘Midsummer’ was just one of these areas. I don’t know that there’s anybody in town that’s done ‘Midsummer’ more times than Jeremy,” Skiles said. “He’s a terrific actor and director but he’s a really good teacher, also. It’s really terrific for us to have somebody in rehearsal that fits those three areas because it helps our students get through the play.”
“He has an extreme respect for players and understands that what they want to do is extremely important but his notes are so inclusive so they offer direction with liberty,” Sheppard said.
“Midsummer” tickets for students, faculty and staff will be $12 and adult tickets will be $17. However, because the show will not be on the main stage, the tickets will sell fast. Each night, the show will seat only about 100 audience members to give the actors better experience and to make the setting and show more intimate.
“It’s really great training for students because it’s one thing to be up on stage and on a platform with a little divide between the student and audience, whereas your toes may be two inches from an audience member’s toes in this set up,” Skiles said. “It requires more focus and commitment on our actor’s part to make sure that they are really staying in the moment.”
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. from Feb. 19-21 and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 22 in the Gallagher Student Center Theatre
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