Rosemary Chesney, Campus Carrier arts and living editor
From Feb. 22 to 26, Berry College Theatre Company will perform its first Shakespeare play in four years: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” This play functions as Berry’s heightened language performance, which occurs once every two years.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” often regarded as one of Shakespeare’s most humorous plays, tells the story of four lovers in Athens, Greece. These four deal with love, deception and fantasy as they interact with and are tricked by mythical fairies throughout the show. Eventually, the couples end up together and get married at the end of the play. Junior Trey Wilkerson plays the character Demetrius, one of the main lovers in the performance. He also said that they are performing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” because it was voted on by the students.
“I think there’s something beautiful about taking Shakespeare’s work, restaging it and bringing it to a modern audience,” Wilkerson said. “When I think about being in a Shakesperean play, I think about the rich history and not only what message it gives to this audience but also what it has done for people throughout its lifetime.”According to sophomore production stagemanager Jake Patton, the time commitment isthe most difficult part about being involved inthis performance. The cast and crew members practice four times a week from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
“We are a comedic ensemble, for the most part, and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is a very funny show,” Patton said. “We knew we would be able to perform this show well.” As a theatre major, Patton has been involved in all six of Berry’s last performances. Most recently, he starred in the shows “Bright Star” and “The Illusion.” This is his first time being the head production stage manager which means it’s his role to coordinate between director and cast and call changes with the lighting and sound during the actual show.
“I’ve enjoyed working so closely with the cast and director,” Patton said. “I mainly get to see what the director is thinking and ask a lot of questions. It’s just really cool to see how the show is put together from the beginning to the end.”
Theater Professor Jennifer Bradford is the director of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” This will be her second time directing a show at Berry. According to Wilkerson, one of his favorite parts of the show is being able to work directly with Bradford.
“She’s super involved in the actor’s process and making sure we know what we’re working on.” Wilkerson said. “She does a good job of making the performance about us but also allowing us to act in a way that gives the show justice.”
According to Wilkerson, one of the main challenges with being a part of this show is learning the lines with the old English language. He also said one of the most difficult acts for him is a particular fight scene because it is demanding both physically and mentally.
Sophomore Mariana Harrison plays one of the fairies Robin Goodfellow, or Puck, in the show. She said that the movements are also difficult for her since she has to move in a different way than the actors who are playing humans in the show.
“I’ve never done a Shakespearean play before and I had never seen this one before but it sounded fun,” Harrison said. “The hardest part is that the lines are difficult to memorize and some of the movement is hard to figure out.”
One of the most unique parts of this show, according to Patton, is the costume and set designs. Senior Crystal Vassor is in charge of designing all the costumes as her senior project for the semester.
“I’m mostly excited to see all of the costumes come together for the performance and call this my first ever show as productions stage manager,” Patton said.
One of the main benefits in participating in the show is the community, according to Wilkerson. Many of the cast and crew members are either theatre majors or minors. Despite this, the show’s auditions were open to anyone and several students from outside of the theatre department are cast in the show.
“The community here is just incredible for every show,” Wilkerson said. “There’s definitely a strong sense of ensemble with this show and we aren’t afraid to help each other out, build each other up and support each other when needed. I think that type of community is just indicative of the Berry Theatre Company in general.”