‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ review

 -  -  30

Shakespeare came to life this weekend as Bethel’s theatre department produced "A Midsummer Night’s Dream." A reproduction of the great comedy, the story interlaces a tale of four lovers, a dispute between fairies, and a lovably unskilled group rehearsing a play. While the classic Shakespearian language made it a tad harder to follow the story, the audience had no problem finding the humor. From Andrea DeLonis’ dim-witted Snug to Mary Griesbach’s Titania, the fairy queen who falls in love with a donkey-man, it was definitely a hit. Though it started out rather slowly, the play picked up with the mechanicals, Peter Quince (Hannah Taubitz), Nick Bottom (Lucas Taubitz), Francis Flute (Jacob Tezak), Tom Snout (Katie Zook), Robin Starveling (Janelle Rundquist) and Snug (DeLonis), who completely stole the show. From tiny comments and gestures to big, hilarious quips and scenarios (such as Tezak in a dress—the only time male to female cross-dressing is acceptable at Bethel), the group captivated the audience in laughter. A unique aspect to this particular performance was the use of blacklight paint to depict fairy scenes. Glowing fae were decorated in it, as well as the nighttime backdrop, which provided a very surreal atmosphere. While at first it felt a bit like a Ke$ha concert, it worked well to translate the darkness of night and dreamlike mystery of the fairies. It also emphasized the actors’ body language, which the fairy relied on, along with vocal tone, due to the dim lighting that hid their facial expressions. Some of the cast struggled with this, but some excelled. Elaina Gillin, who played Puck, the ever-mischievous sprite, did a wonderful job of speaking through her movements. She pranced across the stage, embodying the playful creature in each jump and sway. Another commendable aspect was Gillin’s use of violin. A seasoned violinist, she wove music through the play (composed by Tim Becze and herself), adding to the fairy-tale feel of the story. Though a few parts of the play were somewhat dull or confusing (there was a seemingly pointless dance between the fairies and some curtains), the play as a whole was quite enjoyable. The audience empathized with Kristen West’s Helena, adored Lucas Taubitz’s egocentric Bottom (the character, not the body part—goodness!) and was glad when the four lovers at last matched up (though it seemed a tad unBethical that they were so eager to go to bed!). All in all, this refreshing rendition of a historic classic was a success.    
The cast of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" prepares their make up.
Elaina Gillin, pictured above on the right, played Puck in Bethel's production of "Midsummer's".
Blacklight paint was used by students portraying fairies to apply a surreal atmosphere.
bookmark icon