April 9, 2009 Volume CXXV Issue 9

Shakespeare comes to campus

Adaptation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” showcases talents of faculty and students
Contributing Writer
The play depends on a suspension of disbelief for more supernatural elements.

The play depends on a suspension of disbelief for more supernatural elements.

William Shakespeare visited Georgetown’s campus these past two weekends in the form of the Maskrafter’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” directed by George McGee. Though adapted for this production by Dr. Tim Soulis, with its three interwoven plots of young Athenian lovers, mischievous fairies, amateur actors and even a play-within a play, summarizing this romantic comedy is no easy task.

“The course of love never did run smooth” quotes the character Lysander, played by Ian Ellis, and this is especially true in this play, which is one of Shakespeare’s most popular and widely performed works. When Hermia (Leah Ryan) and Lysander are forbidden to wed and Hermia is directed instead to marry Demetrius (JC Campbell), she and Lysander flee into the woods near Athens. Intent on winning back the heart of Demetrius, another young Athenian lady named Helena (Dominique Higdon) tells Demetrius of the couple’s departure. Demetrius follows them and Helena follows Demetrius.

Also within the wood is a group of aspiring actors endeavoring to perfect their own play, and a quarreling fairy king and queen. When Oberon (Shawn McPeek), the King of the Fairies, intervenes in the lives of these mortals, the love square between Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius and Helena becomes even more complicated, and the Queen of the Fairies (Shannon Brunk) is suddenly captivated by the actor Nick Bottom (Paul Eddy) who has been given the head of a donkey. “Here is a play well-fitted,” says Peter Quince, played by Amanda Kachler, and so it was. The cast of this production was excellent. It often happens that there are one or two actors that seem to steal the show. This was not the case, however, in their Friday night performance (March 27).

The effectively minimal sets allowed the actors to fully express their actions.

The effectively minimal sets allowed the actors to fully express their actions.

Michael McCord, though he had relatively little time on the stage, made the character of Egeus memorable. He took a character usually portrayed very seriously and made him funny. In her portrayal of Helena, Dominique Higdon almost immediately had the audience chuckling with her unique facial expressions. The interplay between her, Ryan, Ellis and Campbell was outstanding. In their largest scene together, they worked together to keep the audience constantly laughing. Ellis, in particular, knows how to throw out an insult. When Lysander called Hermia an “Ethiope,” there was an audible gasp among the audience, though I’m not sure half of them were entirely certain what that meant. These four only improved as the play progressed.

The “rude mechanicals” were ridiculous, as they should be. As lowerclass laborers, they were loud, often awkward, and fantastically entertaining. Stu Perry’s performance as Francis Flute/Thisby was hilarious. The casting here couldn’t have been better. Furthermore, Nick Bottom has always been one of the more entertaining characters in this play. With Eddy in the role, Bottom was as arrogant and oblivious as he should be. As a donkey, Eddy brays excellently. Puck, played by Jonathan Yelton, like Bottom, is another of this play’s more memorable characters. Yelton was completely devoted to his role; he uses everything at his disposal to portray this mischievous prankster. Indeed, throughout most of his performance he was crouched over, either cowering from the intimidating Oberon or as if readying himself to spring into further mischief.

Though at first the set seemed fairly simple, it was broken up to create two different settings. There was a lot of movement within this play and the stage was such that it provided them with the room they needed. And while the transition between the set of Athens and the woods could have been awkward and slow, this was helped along by the actors. The lighting helped to establish the mood in the most straightforward sense. McPeek’s anger as Oberon was made even more ferocious when the lights went red. When he wanted to be “invisible,” the lights went green as he faded into the background.

If you’ve ever read Shakespeare, you know that the words alone are difficult to understand. However, when this production all came together, even if you couldn’t completely understand every word of the dialogue, you understood the meaning. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” has always been one of my favorites of Shakespeare’s works and I was delighted with the Maskcrafters production. At two hours long, it wasn’t so long that it became exhausting. The fastpaced play was funny and enjoyable. If nothing else, it was the best CEP I have been to all year.

Chico Fellini taking the region by storm

Lexington-based band working hard to make their presence known
A&E Editor
Chico Fellini benefits from rehearsing in a well-furnished recording studio.

Chico Fellini benefits from rehearsing in a well-furnished recording studio.

When thinking of the Lexington music scene, the mind does not immediately leap to the conclusion that the city is a hotbed for undiscovered musical talent and thriving new music venues. That’s because most people simply aren’t aware.

The arts movement in Lexington is largely under-publicized outside of the immediate region, but there are plenty of hidden gems to be discovered. Lexington’s latest, Chico Fellini, are working to ensure that they won’t be an “undiscovered gem” for long. With several recent performances already under their belt, the band is starting to look outside the state and around the region to bolster their reputation. Upcoming shows in both Cincinnati and Louisville should help the band find a larger audience, a trap that many Lexington bands have fallen into over the years. While it can be said that a lot of great talent comes from Lexington, it can also be noted that most of it leaves town for brighter lights and bigger stages.

Plenty of bands have Lexington roots. Robert Schnieder of The Apples in Stereo proudly calls the city home, and can often be seen at local record stores and bookshops, working to promote the art scene here. Drummer Glen Kotche of Wilco honed his chops at the University of Kentucky’s music school. And now we have Chico Fellini. The lineup itself is almost a laundry list of notable figures in the Lexington music community. Emily Hagihara, who plays bass and provides vocals, has had a long and successful grassroots career in Lexington for a number of years already.

Guitarist Duane Lundy pulls double duty as a producer and integral member of the band. His work as an engineer has helped more than a handful of local bands record their albums. It is important to not over-saturate the town with performances, so catch the band now. Nobody knows what the future may hold for the group, but the present is looking pretty good.


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