“A Midsummer Night’s” previewBy TORI BACHMAN-JOHNSON
“The course of true love never did run smooth.” Shakespeare’s character Lysander knew this well, and in the coming weeks, Georgetown can learn the lesson, too. On March 27, 28 and 29, as well as April 3, 4 and 5, Georgetown College Maskrafters will present Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” All shows begin at 8 p.m. in the Ruth Pierce Wilson Lab Theatre.
The play has been on Director George McGee’s bucket list, and is finally becoming a reality with the help of theatre professors Ed Smith and Dathan Powell. Though Smith was able to summarize the play in a sentence—“How a series of couples, from the king and queen of the fairies to young lovers, resolve their differences through a series of transformations and reversals”—“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” can get a bit confusing for the audience. However, the script has been cut down, and according to Smith, the plot is “no more messy than ‘Star Wars.’” A viewing tip? Focus on the couples as they are rearranged throughout the play.
While following the onslaught of plot twists may present a challenge for the audience, the actors have one of their own: Shakespeare’s language. Some may take to it “like a duck to water, verses others like oil on water,” said McGee. Though it can be a challenge to understand their lines, reading out-loud has proved to be quite helpful for the actors, adding dimension and life to the parts. “It’s easier to understand when you act than when you read,” said Freshman Dominique Higdon, who plays Helena. And “once you figure out what you’re saying, you know how to say it,” said Smith. The set has also proved to be another challenge. With the characters constantly moving from setting to setting, Powell has been hard at work constructing a set that will communicate these changes to the audience. “All elements will be visible, but the audience may not know what they’re looking at right away,” he said.
Despite the complicated plot and language, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is one of the most entertaining and accessible of Shakespeare’s works, according to McGee and Smith. The comedy has something for everybody, and is a good place to start for someone who has never seen Shakespeare performed before. The playwright makes fun of actors who don’t know their lines, nobility gets their comeuppance, and the character Bottom acts like an ass and gets turned into one. There are also fairies and other elements of magic and the unknown. “Shakespeare tells a mean story,” said Smith. The themes of the play include identity and metamorphosis—as Smith put it, “How do you ever know who you are? In the beginning, characters are sure of their own identities and who they love, but things get mixed up along the way,” he explained.
Smith compared the play to a road movie. As the characters move from a city setting deeper into the woods, they begin to discard the rules and norms attached to civilization. McGee, Smith and Powell have had the help of two GC graduates— James Hamblin (‘97) and Parker Reed (‘02). Hamblin, who has been working locally as a professional actor, watches the rehearsals and speaks to the actors about their motivation, among other things. A dramaturg who earned his MFA in Stage and Theatre at Exitor, Reed’s role is to explain what lines of the script mean. For the cast and crew of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” bonding time may be one of the most valuable factors of working on the play.
The group is made up of students from many different majors, fraternities, sororities and backgrounds who come together to make the play happen, and with all that time spent together, connections are inevitable. “When you start spending two to three hours with people a night, you start building relationships that will last a long time,” said McGee. McGee, Smith and Powell are no strangers to this: according to McGee, all three met their wives at theatre related activities, including a cast party and a ballet. “I’m not implying that any marriages will come out of this show…” he said. No matter the result for the actors, the play promises to be entertaining. “As an actor, director and designer, it doesn’t get any better than Shakespeare,” said McGee.
Phi Kappa Tau participates in month of service
Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity, Delta Theta chapter at Georgetown College, helped kick off a national service initiative, Founders Month of Service, March 1 in Oxford, Ohio, the site of the Fraternity’s founding. Along with Delta Theta chapter, undergraduates from Alpha chapter at Miami University, Kappa chapter at the University of Kentucky, Delta Rho chapter at Eastern Kentucky and staff members from the Executive Offices spent the afternoon cleaning up Hueston Woods State Park. In its first year, Founders Month of Service aims to honor the Fraternity’s founders’ principles of democracy, integrity, equality and brotherhood. During the month of March, undergraduates are encouraged to get involved in any form of service, including the Fraternity’s national philanthropy—the Hole in the Wall Camps. The event surrounds Phi Kappa Tau’s 103rd anniversary. Currently, the national Fraternity has 82 active groups—80 chapters and 2 colonies, or student organizations in the final stages prior to being installed as a chartered chapter—that focus on leadership, service and education. Established in 1906, the Fraternity was founded at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.