BBHS Drama takes on Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
The cast and crew of the Blind Brook High School production of William Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream have learned that “the course of true love never did run smooth,” as Shakespeare shared more than 400 years ago. The antics of the characters show just how chaotic love can be.
Members of the cast have been working to tame that chaos with their latest production, taking on the challenge of Shakespearean dialogue. It is a first for most of the actors and the director too.
“It’s my first go at Shakespeare in a high school setting,” Director Christina Colangelo, who teaches English said. “I was really nervous, anticipating a lot of work I’d have to do.”
The cast is working with an adapted script, which Ms. Colangelo said helps to make it more accessible while maintaining the Shakespearean integrity of the original text.
“The kids were great,” she continued, speaking of the work the students have done to learn their lines and how to speak in a new, unfamiliar way.
“It’s not the way we talk or use language anymore,” Ms. Colangelo said, adding that the language used by Shakespeare was that of everyday people of his time, he just elevated it.
“I think the language is really intimidating, it takes a lot of discipline before it becomes clear, the way it was meant to be,” she said.
The cast spent the first several rehearsals going over the text, ciphering out what was being said and how the language sounded.
For senior Kyle Grindstaff, who plays the role of “Puck,” he said he did not have trouble.
“I found it fairly easier than other shows I’ve done,” he said. “All my lines rhyme so it’s easier to memorize.”
“The biggest challenge was that I didn’t know what all the words meant,” Kyle said.
The actor decided to give his mischievous character a more manic disposition. He can often be seen running, jumping and skipping in and out scenes, often with a grin.
“It definitely was intimidating at first,” senior James Gallagher, who plays “Nick Bottom,” said. “As confusing as the language may be, you pick it up pretty quickly. You can catch the sense of what’s going on and the emotions.”
Ciella Angel-Lalanne, a senior, was attracted to the show for the strong female character that she plays, “Titania.”
“I think of her as foil for her husband,” she said referring to the character of “Oberon.”
“Titania,” the Fairy Queen, is initially a serious individual, who increasingly becomes more comical as the story unfolds, even going so far as to fall in love with “Nick Bottom,” after his unusual transformation.
Ciella is participating in her first high school production and said she loves Shakespeare.
“I read a lot of his plays. I love looking at language, words and poetry,” Ciella, who plans to study linguistics in college, said. “I was actually super excited to do Shakespeare. He’s easier to get as he always gives you cues in the language. It’s fun to figure out what he put in the language and use that.”
The Midsummer production is the community’s introduction to The Bard. In the spring, Ms. Colangelo will be directing “Something Rotten,” a musical that features the Bottom Brothers, Nick and Nigel as they attempt to make their splash in theater, only to be competing against Shakespeare himself.
“I wanted to give them a taste of Shakespeare and provide some context for the spring production,” she said of the fall show.
“I think this was a first great experience doing Shakespeare,” Ms. Colangelo added.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” will be performed one night only, Saturday, Nov. 19. All ticketing will be done ONLINE. Click on this link ShowTix4U for direct access to ticketing. Online sales have begun and will continue through Friday, November 18th at 11p.m. Tickets can also be purchased the evening of the performance at the box office one hour before showtime (cash or check ONLY). All tickets are priced at $15.
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