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January 1, 2011

Shakespeare play is beauty, comedy and love

Central Wyoming College theater director Mike Myers doesn’t want theater patrons to miss the CWC production of Midsummer Night’s Dream because it was written four centuries ago by William Shakespeare.

“We are doing everything to make it entertaining and fun,” Myers said of the Shakespeare comedy CWC stages Nov. 11-13 and Nov. 18-20 on the Robert A. Peck Arts Center stage. “People shouldn’t assume that they are not going to understand or like it. They should give it a chance.”
Don’t be turned off by the narrative poetry. Instead enjoy the comedy as a brash group of incompetent laborers who go into the enchanted woods to prepare a play to celebrate a wedding. Enjoy the romance of two other couples that is complicated by the magic of mischievous fairies. Overlook the silliness of its story and concentrate upon its unique lyrical qualities. Fear no Shakespeare.
“It’s not a heavy play,” Myers emphasizes of Shakespeare’s comedy about two couples in love with the wrong partners. “It’s about romance, magic, love and comedy.”
The director always tells his students they may be unable to understand every line in a Shakespeare play. “It doesn’t matter. You can still follow the story.”
A shortened semester only allowed the theater department to put on one major show this fall so Myers is using the longer rehearsal schedule to tackle this difficult production. The student and community actors must memorize the difficult verse and speak it in one of three different dialects. And the technical staff is transforming the Arts Center stage into a magical moonlit forest.
“I think the fairies are really cool,” Myers said. The fairies come to bless the wedding of Theseus, the king of Athens and Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons. They are haunting the same wood where the laborers and lovers plan to meet and magic turns to comedy.
“It’s funny,” the director emphasizes. “There is no deep meaning to Midsummer. Shakespeare wrote to entertain.”
Unlike many other directors, Myers is not editing Shakespeare’s original script. “We are doing what we can to make it appealing and understandable,” he said, explaining the Bard’s script is clearer with the singing, dancing and physical comedy being added by the CWC cast. “We try to make the meaning clear.”
Shakespeare wrote lyrics for many of his plays though the music was lost over time. Jeannie Robbins, a theater and music major at CWC, has composed the music for Shakespeare’s lyrics in Midsummer. Amanda Kusel Galitz is choreographing her first show. Theater major Molly Thornton is the dialect coach.
Nov. 11 and 12 and Nov. 18 and 19 shows begin at 7:30 p.m. The Nov. 13 and Nov. 20 productions are 2:30 p.m. matinees. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for seniors and students. CWC students can reserve complimentary tickets.