Saturday, February 25, 2012

SBU Theater to bring Shakespeare’s magical ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ to stage March 21-24

Junior theater major Emily West of Vestal, N.Y., and sophomore psychology major Brandon Kallen of Brockport, N.Y., rehearse a scene from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

 By Kait Laubscher, ’12

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y., Feb. 23, 2012 — The St. Bonaventure University theater program is excited to present its spring production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” March 21-24, at 7:30 p.m. in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on the SBU campus.

Professor of theater Dr. Ed. Simone directs a cast of 19 Bonaventure students in this comedic classic by William Shakespeare; a play Simone called “hysterical, moving and literally magical.”

“‘A Midsummer Night's Dream’ is the story of many small characters caught up in a big mess: lovers ensnared by potions, an ignorant weaver affixed with a donkey’s head, and a powerful fairy duped into an impossible romance,” said junior Brett Keegan, who plays the role of Demetrius, one of four lovers caught in the play’s comic web.

Simone, the cast, and Prof. Rebecca Misenheimer and her technical/design crew are working to implement a few fresh updates in their production of this Shakespearean masterpiece.

“There’s no point to doing Shakespeare the way it was done in Shakespeare’s time, unless you want to do a historical recreation. You want to make the production living and exciting,” Simone said, referring to the unique concepts audiences can expect when they see an SBU Theater show. “One hundred percent of the language is Shakespeare’s; but it’s living language.”

Keegan said the unique set design and costumes, along with musical accompaniment, will help bring the play vividly to life.

“It’s all about making the language visible,” Keegan said.

Junior Emily West and Misenheimer, an assistant professor of theater, are planning a number of distinctive visual elements for the production.
West is the costume designer for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and her work is entered in the Kennedy Center/American College Theater Festival Region II for 2012-13.

The costumes are a mixture of classical and contemporary lines in no particular period. West has also designed large rod puppets to serve as three of the play’s fairies, adding to the play’s other-worldly atmosphere. West designed the costumes for SBU Theater’s 2011 production of “Dracula.”

Misenheimer’s set is a swirling open space of blacks and whites, with extensive use of light projections. The music for the play, devised especially for this production, is performed by SBU music faculty and students.

Simone said he chose “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in part because of the greatness of Shakespeare.

“Sometimes we rush to the latest thing. It’s in our natures. And that’s great — it keeps us fresh. But there’s only one playwright in English whose work is 450 years old and is still performed somewhere in the world every day,” Simone said. “He’s the greatest playwright in our language.”

He said he thinks it is important to expose students to Shakespeare’s universal relevancy. “It’s important for student actors and student audiences to experience those wonderfully timeless themes, the timeless romances, the timeless conflicts,” Simone said. “They remind us of who we are and where we’re going, and that is the beauty of theater.”

Members of the cast include sophomore history major Nicole Albright of Macedon, N.Y.; freshman modern languages major Sarah Baker of Spencerport, N.Y.; sophomore English major Hannah Chesley of Cuba, N.Y.; senior philosophy and pre-legal major and theater minor Corrie Damulis of Burlington Flats, N.Y.; senior English major and theater minor Mike Dlugosz of Orchard Park, N.Y.; freshman undecided arts and sciences major and theater minor Will Foust of Lower Burrell, Pa.; senior English major Terence Hartnett of Cazenovia, N.Y.; sophomore psychology major Brandon Kallen of Brockport, N.Y.; junior philosophy major Brett Keegan of Syracuse, N.Y.; freshman theater and journalism and mass communication major Tori Lanzillo of Victor, N.Y.;

Also sophomore journalism and mass communication major and theater minor Makeda Loney of Brooklyn, N.Y.; sophomore theater and journalism and mass communication major Brooke Perkins of Utica, Ohio; freshman theater major Ledonna Peters of New York, N.Y.; freshman journalism and mass communication major Sean O’Brien of Ilion, N.Y.; sophomore modern languages major Ian Rogers of Amherst, N.Y.; sophomore sociology major Molly Schaefer of Clay, N.Y.; junior theater major Lizzy Vivino of Rockaway, N.Y.; junior theater major Emily West of Vestal, N.Y.; and junior computer science major Josh Wingerter of Tacoma, Wash.

Members of the crew include sophomore theater and journalism and mass communication major Freddy Alvarez of Bronx, N.Y.; non-matriculating student Becky Hahn of Olean, N.Y.; junior physics major Mary Harner of Allen, Texas; senior psychology major Hannah Ochocki of Parma, Ohio; senior political science major Katie Reusch of Depew, N.Y.; and senior sociology major Catherine Turner of Centerville, Mass.

SBU Theater’s production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be performed in the Rigas Family Theater at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m., March 21-24. Reserved seating is $8 for the public; $6 for St. Bonaventure students, faculty and staff.  A free student rush ticket is available to any student with a valid student ID, in-person only, beginning 6:30 p.m. at the Quick Center box office. For information and to purchase tickets, call the Quick Center Box Office at (716) 375-2494. 

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