Griswold High School drama club to perform 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Griswold - posted Fri., Nov. 16, 2012
Chris Vasquez as Nick Bottom (center, in donkey mask) enjoys being doted on by Desiree Gagnon as Peaseblossom (left) and Katherine Hoey as Titania. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
Chris Vasquez as Nick Bottom (center, in donkey mask) enjoys being doted on by Desiree Gagnon as Peaseblossom (left) and Katherine Hoey as Titania. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

Shakespeare’s magical tale of love spells and misplaced affection will come to the stage at Griswold High School on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, as the school’s drama club presents “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” This is the third Shakespeare play produced at the school in recent years, said director Timothy Moore, who teaches English at GHS.

After presenting two Shakespearean tragedies – “Romeo and Juliet” and “Macbeth” – the drama club is taking a comedic path with this production. The plot focuses on a love quadrangle: two young friends, Helena and Hermia, and their suitors, Lysander and Demetrius, who find themselves caught up in the human tangle of arranged marriage, as well as in the mischief wrought by fairies and sprites. The spells that swirl in the woods on Midsummer’s Night wreak havoc not only on the human couples, but also on the queen of the fairies herself, Titania, whose spurned husband arranges for her to find a most unlikely love object. Even more comic relief is provided by a band of performing tradesmen, who perform a hilarious dramatization of the “tragedy” of Pyramus and Thisbe.

Moore said that GHS senior Emily Slonski is serving as the production’s art director, designing a giant papier mâché tree stump/cave structure to serve as Titania’s bower and using real trees to evoke the magical woods. The drama club, he said, is especially delighted that they have recently obtained a long-hoped-for goal: the use of a storage trailer for sets, props and costumes from school productions. “We won’t be throwing things out now. Especially in tight budgetary times, we can’t afford that,” he said. “It’ll save thousands of dollars and dozens of hours of construction.”

Already, this production has recycled pipes from the ship railing of last spring’s “Anything Goes” to support the woodland set’s trees. The trailer will be tucked into an unobtrusive spot on campus, he said.

Of the 24-member cast, about 20 percent are new to the boards, said Moore. “That’s about the same percentage as every year,” he said. “It’s fun – they’re totally new to what theater is all about. It’s neat to watch them grow.” And tackling Shakespeare, complete with his archaic language, didn’t faze the kids, he said. “They love it. They hit it head-on and really latch onto it. They get it – they really understand it.”

The drama club does a Shakespeare play every four years, said Moore. “Any student who is here for four years will have the opportunity to perform Shakespeare,” he said. He’s already chosen the next play by the Bard of Avon for 2016: another comedy, “The Taming of the Shrew.” Typically, the plays performed by the drama club are part of the high school’s English curriculum, but “Midsummer” is an exception, “which is too bad.”

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be performed at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, and Saturday, Dec. 1, at the high school auditorium. Admission is $8, the same price it’s been for eight years, “since gas was $1.85 a gallon,” quipped Moore. Admission is free to military veterans with ID.


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