Westside to enjoy 'Midsummer' in fall
Students take on Shakespeare classic
Puck for centuries has been known as an impish fairy who meddles in mortals love affairs in Shakespeares A Midsummer Nights Dream.
Though still mischievous, the merry wanderer of the night is a magical acrobat in Westside Christian Highs rendition of the fanciful play, which opens Friday, and his home isnt a surrealistic forest as in the original. Hes also not a he.
Director Zachary Olson is shifting his Dream into the 20th century, setting the romantic-comedy in the 1920s and reimagining the fey folk as performers in an enchanted circus in America. While sifting through online images to spark a concept to shape the Westside version, Olson came across some photos of 1920s circuses.
I think that a play can be relevant in any decade or any time frame a well-written play and a well-produced play, he said.
Because more female students auditioned than Dream had parts for, he cast a girl, junior Amy Davis, as Puck. Davis fairy dresses in a yellow-and-white tutu and dramatizes scenes with swirls of a rhythmic gymnasts ribbon.
Im taking inspiration from Tinker Bell where I like to mess with people like Tinker Bell messes with Wendy, and I kind of find it amusing, Davis said.
She came up with the idea after hearing Olson tell senior Nathan Longacre (Oberon) to think of his character as Peter Pan-like. Puck serves Oberon, much as Tink aids the forever boy.
In Westsides Dream, Oberon has become the ringmaster of the circus. Sara Sherwood is Titania, once the fairy queen and, in Westsides fall production, a fortune-teller.
Sherwood, a senior, said her character is a strong woman.
Shes taught me to be independent and stand up for what I believe in because shes a very independent character in the play, especially in regards to her husband, Sherwood said.
In Act 2, Scene 1, Oberon calls his wife proud Titania and, in response to a suspected indiscretion, she says, I have forsworn his bed and company. She also refuses to relinquish to him a child shes stolen from an Indian king. Oberon wants the boy to be one of his followers.
In Olsons take on Dream, two young mortal men fall for one pretty flapper, Hermia. Her friend, Helena, pines for Demetrius, her ex-fiancé and one of Hermias admirers.
Hermias father is threatening her with death or life in a convent if she refuses to marry Demetrius. She escapes the town of Athens with her true love, Lysander, and Helena and Demetrius follow, finding themselves in a strange circus.
The gender clashes threaded through the iconic Shakespearean classic are powerful and echo aspects of todays culture. Olson removed the racially offensive language, although it remains mostly Elizabethan.
I like to make things a little more appropriate and approachable to the audience. Olson said.
Jillian Daley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 503-636-1281, ext. 109. Follow her on Twitter, @jilliandaley.Add a comment