The FDU theater department will be putting on their production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” this fall.
This particular production challenges the typical stereotypes of Shakespearean theater. It creates something new and exciting out of a timeless classic.
Reuben E. Natan plays Nick Bottom in this production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He refuted one of the common treatments of Shakespeare by noting, “Shakespeare is boring.” “Simply put, it can be boring if you are reading or analyzing it for a class because Shakespeare isn’t meant to be read. It’s meant to be watched and heard,” said Natan.
Contrary to some of Shakespeare’s more dramatic works, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a comedy that is known to evoke laughter within its audience. Its humor cannot be appreciated by simply being read; it must be watched and heard.
“When I think of Shakespeare, I think of crackling wit, beautiful language and complex characters,” said Mike Gardiner, who plays Theseus and Oberon in the production. He explained that the show defies stereotypes of typical Shakespeare productions because it is “truly relatable, and it moves quickly, one laugh to the next.”
Sara Giacomini, who is taking on the role of Hermia, explained that the show is “a fantasy with a lot of mischief, laughter and magic.”
Although rehearsals for the show have just begun, the actors are excited for the challenge of drawing the audience in and leaving them captivated. Giacomini said that the cast has spent a few rehearsals breaking down lines to “discover what they mean.”
“Once we know what we are trying to say and what part of our lines is important,” she explained, “it can become clear to the audience what we’re talking about, and they will begin to see us as real people – feeling real feelings and experiencing real things.”
With almost a month until the play opens, many of the actors are enthusiastic about what the show will bring. “I’m really excited for the show because it’s the most poetic text I’ve [ever worked with], and to attempt to make that relatable, understandable and interesting to an audience is a wonderfully exciting challenge,” Gardiner said.
Jennie Davies is the production stage manager, as well as somewhat of a right-hand man to guest director Carole Healey. She explained that Healey is taking on Stephen Hollis’s work as director while he is away on sabbatical. Davies also discussed that Healey is taking a slightly different approach to the classic tale.
“She isn’t really setting it in a specific time period, but she’s going for a ‘dystopian’ theme,” said Davies. “It definitely won’t be the ‘Victorian Era’ setting that’s typical of Shakespeare.”
“Carole has incredible, awesome and unusual ideas for the show,” said Lauren Angelini, who plays Helena. “But it all make sense! This isn’t going to be your typical production of ‘Midsummer.’”
Davies does not know Healey’s exact reason for shaking things up, but she went on to say, “I know [Healey] wants to push boundaries between what’s real and not real within the context of the play.”
Healey’s vision, combined with the classic comedy of this Shakespearean play will surely create a new and exciting experience for its audience.
“It’s not going to be like anything anyone has seen before,” Davies explained with confidence. “It’s going to be completely different.”
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will take the stage at Dreyfuss Theater Oct. 14 to 18. Wednesday through Saturday, performances will start at 8 p.m. The Sunday matinee will begin at 2:30 p.m.