“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Enacts the Classical Love Triangle With a Magic Twist

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” enchanted audiences with its production on April 27-28 in the theater.  Set in Athens, Greece, the William Shakespeare classic combines comedy with tragedy by exploring themes of jealousy, betrayal, star-crossed lovers, the complexity of love and the magic of dreams. 

Three subplots revolve around the marriage of Theseus (junior Jason Wu Chen) and Hippolyta (senior Jesulayomi Bello). One subplot involves a conflict among four Athenian lovers: Helena (junior Deniz Ertan), Hermia (senior Val Estrada), Demetrius (senior Seif Abaskhairon) and Lysander (junior Daniel Stankovich). 

Another subplot follows a group of six actors: Peter Quince (sophomore Golsa Khamsehnia), Nick Bottom (junior David Sloan), Francis Flute (sophomore Jay Shin), Tom Snout (senior Jia Narielwala), Snug (senior Kiara Knight) and Starveling (junior Kody Lin) rehearsing a play to be performed at the wedding. 

“For as long as I can remember, this is the first Shakespeare play where the English isn’t what people are used to,” stage manager and senior Aiza Khalil said. ¨I think what’s different about this one is that some people may or may not have understood the story, but everyone got an idea what was happening because of the acting, and all of the lighting, mics and everything had a very big impact.¨ 

Rehearsals ran from early February to late April. Directed by juniors Jewelia Libejas and Sanika Nihalani, the play had additional directing from drama teacher Samantha Sanford. Symphonic orchestra and band were conducted by instrumental music teacher Desmond Stevens and collaborated with the theater department for the first time. 

“This was definitely a big undertaking to combine with the philharmonic group,” Sanford said. “We had to extend our tech rehearsal process to make sure we had enough time to iron some kinks out. Our design team had to figure out how to fit 65-plus musicians on stage with our performers. It truly became an ensemble piece where every single person, whether they were house and ushers or lead actors on stage, worked together seamlessly and came together for the greater good.”

Libejas and Nihalani introduced dress-up themes during rehearsals to promote team bonding. Some of these themes included the white lies theme, in which members dressed up in a t-shirt with a white lie about their character. Others included fairy princess, Western and Halloween themes. 

“The themes were something that I didn’t expect but something that I enjoyed greatly,” Wu Chen said. “They happened at the start of rehearsal, and they just made every rehearsal just a bit more interesting. I found it really fulfilling to do so since it made the whole group feel more collected as a company.”