On Thursday night, Bwogger Joya Kumar attended the first show of KCST’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and shares some thoughts on the production.
Directed by Catherine Ferrante (BC’21) and produced by Juliet Emerson-Colvin (BC’21), KCST’s rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a wild and hilarious reimagination of the original Shakespeare and a definite must-see. As highlighted in the Director’s Note, one of the aims of this production is to “let yourself get carried away.” With the combination of its fabulous costumes, acting, and sets, this is precisely the effect this show will have on you.
Despite its many virtues, the play did begin a bit slowly, with the delivery of some of Hippolyta and Theseus’ lines coming across as a bit dry. However, the pace of the play picked up considerably in the second act and remained highly engaging until almost the very end. My only criticism of their edition of the ending is that, following the reconciliation of the two couples, the denouement dragged on for just a little too long.
Arguably, the highlight of the show was its costumes. There was excruciating detail paid to the costumes of each and every character, and the results were magnificent. In particular, the costumes of the fairies, adorned with glitter, glow-in-the-dark paint, and fairy lights were spectacular to behold. The combination of these more modern costumes, like Helena’s sunglasses and heels and Hippolyta’s jeans and blazer, with the more conservative ones of characters such as Theseus and Egeus, perfectly encapsulates KCST’s aim to preserve the historical tradition of this play, while at the same time making it relevant to modern audiences.
The sets and props of the play were also, for the most part, effective. The set for the first scene was quite simplistic; however, the set of the forest scene, with its swing, flowers, and fairy lights, was far more enthralling. However, one major downside was that the main stage was quite squeaky, which at times made the lines of certain characters difficult to hear. Moreover, the lantern-like objects hanging from the ceiling and the magical flowers illuminated by flashlights came across as slightly clumsy.
The cast of the show was, on the whole, incredible. The standout segment of the cast was undoubtedly the troupe of actors, consisting of Julia Lasker (BC’21) as Peter Quince, Jackson Kienitz (CC’21) as Thisbe/Flute/Egeus/Mustardseed, Zach Kahn (CC’20) as Snug/The Lion, and Jane Walsh (CC’23) as Snout/The Wall. The whole troupe was ridiculously funny, and Joel Meyers’ (CC’21) rendition of Nick Bottom was arguably among the best performances of the night. Joel’s versatility in maneuvering between the various roles which Nick Bottom foolishly tries to play was truly remarkable, and the conviction with which he spoke every single line is best illustrated by the amount of spit that emanated from his mouth.
Other standout performances include that of Maggie Vlietstra (BC’20) as Puck and David Ehmcke (CC’20) as Lysander. The other main actors, including Maya Weed (CC’22) as Hermia, Sarah Hilligoss (BC’21) as Helena, and Shayan Hooshmand (CC’23) as Demetrius were equally superb.
Overall, KCST did an amazing job with their rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. From the acting to the costumes to the staging, everything was executed to near-perfection. The cast and crew certainly succeeded in carrying us away and into a world of magical chaos and fun. This play is definitely a must-watch—make sure to go see it tonight at 7 PM in the Glicker-Milstein Theater!
KCST’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream will perform its final show tonight, Saturday the 23rd at 7 PM in the Glicker-Milstein Theater. Get there early to put your name on the waitlist.
Photo via Persis Rao