Lane theater instructor Judith “Sparky” Roberts’ adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be performed at Lane’s Ragozzino Hall April 17 to April 19 and April 24 to April 26.
Because only Shakespeare’s scripts were included, much of the stage direction is left up to the director’s modern interpretation. This allows them the freedom to adapt the play as they would like to present it.
“One of the most creative aspects of doing Shakespeare is retaining what the director thinks is essential,” Roberts said.
Roberts is collaborating with other members of Lane’s staff as well as her own students in order to bring her interpretation to life, she said.
“Alberto Redondo is producing the music for the play.
James McConkey will be using his ideas to make the play come alive visually,” Roberts said.
Redondo has developed original music for this particular staging of the play. While the original lyrics are from Shakespeare himself, the music and melodies are Redondo’s work, he said.
“The music really makes the world come to life,” Redondo said.
Together, using Roberts’ vision as a guide, cast and crew will incorporate many tools Ragozzino’s main stage has as story telling devices. The “pit” where the orchestra sometimes plays will be raised to its “thrust” position, allowing stage members to walk farther into the audience. This enables them to interact more with audience members as is customary in Shakespearean theatrics.
The vomitoriums beneath the stage will also be used, allowing cast members to emerge among the audience.
“We are using the full technical capabilities of our exceptional theatre. There are aspects of the theater that make a performance very special,” Roberts said.
The creative process takes time and evolves in many stages, Redondo said.
“It’s amazing to see a show come together. I’ve worked with (Roberts) a lot. She is a master of Shakespeare,” he said.
Having directed 11 Shakespeare plays, Roberts is aware that Shakespeare’s diction can be difficult to follow.
“Elizabethan English is a second language, but it’s easy to catch on when the actors really know what they’re talking about. The poetic environment becomes very intriguing and welcoming to the audience,”
Roberts said. “Shakespeare has so much to offer. There is something for everybody.”
As opening night approaches, Roberts’ cast and crew are confident. “I would like to think if (Shakespeare) came back he would dig what we have,” she said.
The cast was chosen just after winter break and has had time since then to prepare.
Kaitlin Baugh, a first-year student at Lane, will be playing the part of Hermia, a main character involved in a love triangle. “It’s definitely been a fun experience,” she said.
Audience members can expect a few creative twists in this telling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “People have done A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but not like this,” Redondo said.