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27Jan

Harrisonville High School's A Midsummer Night's Dream Selected Reviews

The review submitted by Samantha Lambert of Grandview High School has been submitted to the Kansas City Star.

IS THIS THE REAL LIFE? IS THIS JUST FANTASY?

Have you ever had a dream that felt so real, you couldn't quite shake the feeling that maybe you were actually awake? Harrisonville High School brings that feeling to the stage with A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM!

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM is a classic comedy by well-known playwright William Shakespeare. Written in 1595 or 1596, the play follows Hermia and Lysander, lovers fleeing into the forest to escape an arranged marriage between Hermia and her suitor, Demetrius. Demetrius pursues them, followed by Helena, a woman who has unreciprocated feelings of love for Demetrius. Oberon, king of the fairies, notices their plight and sends another fairy, Puck, to enchant Demtrius so that he falls in love with Helena. Chaos ensues when Puck mistakes Lysander for Demetrius, and enchants him instead.

Michael Schuhler (Oberon) portrays the fairy king with precise characterization, leaving the audience with no question as to who is in charge. His memorable gait and tone of voice toe the line between royal and fairy, bringing just the right amount of regalia to the almost whimsical character. Gael Rios (Puck) follows his every command, jumping around the stage with impish delight. The way Rios seems to dance, even when standing still, marvelously brings the youthful Puck to life. Schuhler and Rios have wonderful chemistry, capturing attention even when they are only in the background of a scene. Also notable is Kinsley Brannon (Titania), whose character is well-developed, giving her a sense of age beyond her years. Brannon's ethereal presence and floaty movements perfectly encapsulate a fairy queen

Vaelen Taylor (Francis Flute) leaves audiences in stitches with his enthusiastic humor. Though only onstage for a short time, Clinton Howser (Egeus) creates a memorable character, speaking with a clear understanding of the script. Jacob Allen (Theseus) displays wonderful use of microexpressions, inciting laughs with something as simple as a head turn.

The costume department makes stunning choices, each costume piece picked with care and clarity. Perhaps most memorable are the fairy costumes, many of which are primarily constructed of neckties sewn together. The costumes pair nicely with the hair and make-up, which are uniquely designed for each character. It is easy to distinguish the fairies from the humans, with some fairies covered head to toe in glitter, and some with streaks of color in their hair.

The show is incredibly well-presented. At times, it feels as though the actors do not quite understand the meaning of their lines, making it more difficult for audiences to follow the scene. However, it is made up for in energy and physicality, and the story is easily projected through body language and skilled acting.

Full of laughs, music, and witty banter, Harrisonville High School's interpretation of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM is sure to make William Shakespeare himself proud from beyond the grave.

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The review submitted by Faith Newell of Center High School has been submitted to The Pitch.

A MIDWINTER'S FANTICFUL EVENING

Fairies, tricksters, lovers, and bad actors, Harrisonville welcomes you to a world of wonderful fantasy! With their breath-taking set design and whimsical characters, Harrisonville will take you on a journey that the characters may forget, but you definitely won't! In their rendition of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, you will be captured from the very beginning all the way to the end.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM is a world-known and loved classic written by William Shakespeare. A wildly complex plot when looked at in a glance, the story is written around marriage culture with the all of the hijinks being a result of Puck's boredom. This particular rendition was set in no specific time which helped convey the endless feeling of this tale. It has inspired many other tales and has gone down in history as one of the best shows from the Victorian era. 

Despite the complexities of the script most of the actors seem to have a real understanding, helping them provide fitting emotions and engaging delivery. Breezy Semler catches your attention from the moment she steps on stage in her portrayal of Hermia. She truly does the role justice: with her impeccable timing and delivery she is one to watch and will have you feeling every scene with her. Michael Schuhler truly commands the stage in his portrayal of Oberon. His movements send you into a trance and really teleports you into this world as he moves across the stage and genuinely captures the essence of a fairy king. Kinsley Brannon pairs beautiful with Schuhler holding the command as Titania. She brings an endearing motherly side to the character and treats her role with respect and attention, which aids her in giving audiences an amazing performance. 

The biggest laugh of the night is given to audiences by Vaelen Taylor in his portrayal of Francis Flute. He is able to make one of the smaller roles one of the most memorable of the night. Taylor will have you grinning from ear to ear and laughing days later. Gael Rios brings a childish playful attitude to Puck that is both fitting and entertaining. Rios never skips a beat and draws you in. Smaller characters like Mustardseed (Cathy Wade) and Tom Snout (Jacob Miller) also make a lasting impression with their engaging facial expressions and reactions. 

The costumes done by Breezy Semler and makeup done by Charlie Crouser, Amarah Slatton, Caisdy Weaver, Victoria Wise, and Reese Tilghman looks so good you would mistake it as professional. It really adds an element to the show and enchants audiences. Although some actors struggled with enunciation they recover quickly and entertains you the whole time. 

Harrisonville really makes for a memorable night out. They take you through the whole show never having a dull moment and makes you laugh so hard you almost cry. You would surely be missing out if you do not come see it! So drop by and enter this world of wonderous fantasy and comedy down at Harrisonville High!
 

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The review submitted by Mackenzie Madsen of Summit Christian Academy has been submitted to the Courier Tribune.

MAGIC IS NO LONGER A MYTH

Laughter and conversing between sparkling fairies envelops the auditorium as the spellbinding production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM presented by Harrisonville High School begins. As a bewitching cast places a spell upon the audience and draws them into the marvelous world of Shakespeare's imagination, dreams come true, love reigns victorious, and magic is no longer a myth. 

Written by William Shakespeare around 1595, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM begins with Egeus' attempt to force his daughter, Hermia, with the help of the Duke to marry Demetrius even though she loves Lysander. In an attempt to flee, Hermia and Lysander elope and hide in the woods. Helena, a friend of Hermia, hopelessly chases after Demtetrius, but her feelings are unrequited. The plot becomes even more complicated when a squabble between Oberon and Titania ripples into the lives of the lovers. Filled with heartbreak, passion, and first love, this play portrays the ebb and flow of love.

The underlying tension between Michael Schuhler (Oberon) and Kingsley Brannon (Titania) adds a depth to each individual character. Schuhler portrays his character as cool-headed, sinister, and mischievous. He obtains this characterization through minuscule movements with a driven purpose. Examples of this include a comedic miming of aiming a bow and arrow and a sarcastic heel pop, which all contribute to his character's charisma. Brannon's ability to exude her undaunted character as graceful lights up the stage with her remarkable presence. 

Gael Rios (Puck) masterfully bounces across the stage emanating an impish persona that brings a breath of life and youthful magic to the production. Among the fairies, Cathy Wade (Mustardseed) stands out because of her striking movements and eccentric facial expressions. Breezy Semler (Hermia) conveys the emotions of love at first sight extremely well. Her adoring glances and heartfelt inflections in her voice accredited Semler's character's undying love. 

The lighting technicians, Bronson Lee and Piper Coppage, provide smooth changes between scenes to add another layer of whim to this already enchanting production. The hair and make-up crew, consisting of Charlie Crouser, Amarah Slatton, and Reese Tilghman, uses flowers and glitter to compose an ensemble of fairies. These elements are specially designed to each individual member. Exhibitions of attention to detail such as this shows the dedication of all of the crew members. 

Although at times it is difficult to understand the actors due to a lack of pacing, the movements on stage keep the show engaging. This ultimately results in an exciting and dreamlike production.

Harrisonville High School's production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM exhibits elements of awestruck wonder. The cast develops a plot encompassing enchanting fairies, deep despair, overflowing joy, and a happy ending. The crew helps bring a whimsical world to life through sparkles, lighting, and flowers. Together, the cast and crew prove in the spellbinding A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM that magic is no longer a myth. 

About the Author

Rackers, Brad

Chair - FY20 Season

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