Simon Van Der Weide
Flint Hill School
Thomas Edison High School invited audiences into the whimsical and enchanted world of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," where a timeless forest of fairies lurks just outside of orderly Athens.
Written in the 1590s by William Shakespeare, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" tells the story of Titania and Oberon, two immortal fairies, whose arrival near Athens disrupts the lives of humans in fantastic ways. When four youths venture into the woods to follow their lovers, they enter a land of magic and contention, also inhabited by the Mechanicals, a group of rude actors rehearsing a play of their own. With double-entendre and sharp wit flying on the wings of every fairy, it is no surprise that this Shakespearean comedy is one of the most performed.
Actors Amen Adib and Carina Hines brought the character of Puck to life with their synchronous dialogue and fluid motion. Although Adib and Hines each represented one side of a single character, they brought out the idiosyncrasies of Puck and Robin Goodfellow with unique and inspired physicality. Nathaniel McCay (Oberon) and Sophia Pelakasis (Titania) carried with them a regal and imposing presence whenever they graced the stage.
Other dramatic performances were made by Reel Yousif (Hermia), Angeline Ignacio (Helena), Alex Savage (Nick Bottom), and Sean McGavin (Snout). While Ignacio beautifully displayed a young woman's dilemma in desiring an unrequited love, Yousif protested against the condemnation of her love with soulful lamentations and strong emotion. The Mechanicals' play-within-a-play of Pyramus and Thisbe would have been incomplete without McGavin's brilliant and sarcastic portrayal of Wall. Savage brought tremendous arrogance to narcissistic Bottom, casting himself for every role in the play with aplomb and larger-than-life motions.
The passage of time was well displayed by the use of sunlit hues for the dawn. This production also featured numerous handcrafted headpieces and sets of wings that highlighted the nature of the characters that wore them. The costumes themselves established clear distinctions between the warring fairy courts and contributed to the timeless nature of the entire show. From the practices of the elaborate triple wedding to the intricate dénouement, Jillian Brooks' choreography enhanced the emotion of every scene and kept the show lively in otherwise slow moments.
The cast and crew of Thomas Edison High School's production reimagined the classic tale of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with distinct modernity and exceptional talent.
Lake Braddock Secondary School
In the depths of the forest on a hot summer eve, a fairy giggles in the shadows as a man with the head of a Donkey sings loudly and crudely. Magic is in the air as the fae world and the human world clash in Thomas A. Edison High School's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
William Shakespeare's timeless comedy, one that has been around since the 16th century, is set in Athens and follows the mixed-up romance of four young lovers as they attempt to navigate their way through forbidden love and consequential pining. With the "help" from mischievous fairies, true love wins out and in the end a hilarious play within a play greets the lovers on their wedding day.
The cast as a whole showed dedication to each and every role, and came together to deliver a performance that was high spirited and full of comedic value. The technical aspects of the show were intricate and enhanced the performance through added detail.
The antics of The Mechanicals (Perry Brown, Alex Savage, Mason Clark, Landen Chanthaphanij, Sean McGavin, and Sam Kaynor) had the audience in fits of laughter throughout the entire show. The group worked well not only as an ensemble, but also as individuals who brought life and special quirks to his or her own character. The Mechanicals had unwavering energy in every scene; there was never a dull moment while they were onstage. The chemistry between the actors was clear, both as their "acting" characters and as their "Pyramus and Thisbe" counterparts.
The decision to have the role of Puck/Robin split between two actors (Amen Adib and Carina Hines) was interesting, and the two worked well with it. The way the actors played off of each other and delivered their lines back and forth was entertaining, and easily allowed them to capture the dynamic of the rascally sprite. Angeline Ignacio, who played Helena, performed in a way that showed she understood her lines and her character, and she captured the audience's attention. Reel Yousif, who performed as Hermia, showed a range of emotions from love to disappointment to anger that allowed the audience to feel her pain as she watched her lover turn away from her.
The detailed and colorful design (Maggie Landis and Jillian Brooks) of the homemade headpieces and wings for the fairies was beautiful and defined the status' of the various characters. The use of feathered quills and rolled up paper helped define the time period and showed attention to detail on the designer's part. The fairies makeup (Jocelyn Gyasiwaah Antwi) was bright and creative. The pinks and blues set the magical creatures apart from the human actors, and each actor was easily distinguishable. The set design (Amédé Karina-Plun and Julia Stonefield) accentuated the depth of the stage and gave the appearance of an Athenian forest with its multiple trees and pillars.
Thomas A. Edison High School's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream was packed with entertainment, and the bright colors and details surrounding the actors fully captured Shakespeare's themes of love and dreaming.