SUMMIT, NJ - Theatre fans are in for a treat, as Summit High School's (SHS) theatre company is set to perform William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream November 14-16.
The SHS company performs a fall play and a spring musical each school year and, every four years, one of Shakespeare's works are brought to life by the schools talented roster of actors and actresses. Led by Anne Poyner, the award-winning company has immersed themselves not only in traditional preparation, but also in the true meaning, dialect and emotion behind the English playwright's words.
"We spent two weeks just reading the play, understanding Shakespeare's monologue, defining words and themes," said Poyner, who has taught at SHS for 12 years and is the school's Theatre Arts Teacher and Forensics Coach. "As part of the preparation process, we bring in professional actors, costume designers, and set designers to mentor the students and provide them with direction," she added. While the entire cast and crew are excited, they acknowledge that prepping for a Shakespeare play is more challenging and intense than other works.
Junior Samantha Theriot, who will play Hermia in the production, said, "It is a great opportunity and we are all so excited to do Shakespeare. The time we invested prior to rehearsals was spent learning every word, its meaning, connecting emotionally to the play."
A Midsummer Night's Dream is Shakespeare’s most romantic and popular comedy. When two pairs of star-crossed lovers, a troop of inept amateur actors, a feuding pair of supernatural sprites, and a love potion gone awry all come together in an enchanted moonlit forest, the result is an unequalled mixture of merriment and magic. More than 30 cast, and 40 additional crew members -- all SHS students -- will take part in the production. Some key roles include:
Allison Scott (senior) -Titania
Greg Archer (senior) - Demetrius
Keenan Buckley (junior) - Oberon
Jack LeGoff (senior) - Lysander
Samantha Theriot (junior) - Hermia
Matthew Wilson (freshman) - Robin Goodfellow / Puck
Ellie Winter (senior) - Student Director
Trevor Ashman (junior) - Student Lighting Designer
Student Director Winter summed up the challenge of doing Shakespeare justice by saying, "It really is the period itself, our biggest challenge is that we are turning teenagers into characters from 1590. The language leave less room for interpretation than more modern works, but it is so colorful, funny, and visually beautiful." She does believe the production has benefits well beyond the performance itself, stating, "There is so much much poetry in Shakespeare's work that it can't help buy make anyone who reads it a better speaker, so it is quite educationally beneficial, plus the students are actually reading it in their classes."
A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs Thursday, November 14 - Saturday, November 16
. Tickets are $10 for students and seniors and $12 for adults. To download a ticket order form, visit sparcsummit.org
. For ticket information, contact the SHS Ticket Information Hotline at 908 / 918-2122