UT Presents: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The course of true love never did run smooth,” reads a quote from Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The University of Tampa’s students will perform the play from Nov. 19 to Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 22 at 1 p.m. in the David Falk Theatre.

This performance is presented by the Department of Speech, Theatre and Dance.

The play is one of Shakespeare’s earliest comedies and has three simultaneous interconnected plots.

There are two sets of couples: Theseus, Duke of Athens and his bride, Hippolyta; and Hermia and Lysander who decide to elope.

Their tales cross paths in the woods with complications from the Fairy King and Queen and their band of fairies.

The characters’ stories are joined by a band of craftsmen who are rehearsing a play they hope to perform for the Duke and his bride.

Oberon, the Fairy King, sends out his servant, Puck, to get a flower that, when its juice is sprinkled on the eyelids of a sleeping person, makes them fall in love with the first person they see.

When Puck sprinkles the potion on the wrong person, chaos ensues.

“They let me pick the [play],” said Dr. Robert Gonzalez, assistant professor of Speech, Theatre and Dance, and director of the play.

According to him, a Shakespearean play was included in the year-long cycle and when he suggested this one to the faculty, they discussed it and agreed that it could work.

According to Gonzalez, there are 24 cast members and up to 30 students all together involved in the play, whether working on the set or costumes.

“It will be done without an intermission,” Gonzalez said.

This is because he thought it would make it easier for the audience to understand and for the students to work on the play.

He also took some artistic liberties by cutting things that didn’t advance the plot or reveal the characters.

“I took my cue from other productions that I have seen,” said Gonzalez.

“Like the Royal Shakespeare Company. They cut [as well], but differently.”

Gonzalez was thinking of first-time theatre goers and first-time Shakespeare audiences when he directed the play.

He wants to make sure the audience leaves wanting more.

“This is one of the comedies that really works,” Gonzalez said.

“Some comedies do not translate over the years, [but this play’s] humor is based more on universal [themes], like love.”

According to Gonzalez, he wanted the costumes for all the three groups to be different.

The Queen Fairy’s (Titania’s) costume will have an exotic “bird” look.

The craftsmen are blue collar workers and have Victorian, science-fiction theme with a lot of brass and metal, while the royal court costumes are reminiscent of Victorian times.

“They have really created a very interesting costume: dreaded hair and robin hood boots.

That’s just a little sneak peak,” said Meagan Nagy, a junior who is playing Puck.

Rodner Salgado, a sophomore, plays Nick Bottom and Pyramus in the play within the play.

He wears a gold chest plate for one scene and a donkey head for another.

“How many people get to say they had the opportunity to be an ass on stage?” Salgado said.

The stage is raked at a 14 degree angle that goes from flat level to four feet.

This is so the audience will have the sense that the play is coming down at them.

“There is heck of a lot of warming up one must do before even stepping foot on that stage,” Salgado said.

According to Gonzalez there will be blue and purple curtains hung for night time and a moon that will be on one side for the first part of the play and the other side for the second part.

Of the cast members surveyed, they said they all liked Shakespeare.

“I am slightly obsessed,” Meredith Payne, senior, said. “This is my second involvement in a Shakespeare production at UT. I feel very privileged.”

Posted November 12 2009 at 12:44 am

The Minaret: http://theminaretonline.com/2009/11/12/article7965

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