Baker University to present ‘Midsummer’s Night Dream’
When one thinks of Shakespeare, fairies and bad acting aren’t usually what come to mind, but Tom Heiman says that’s exactly what audience members should expect during Baker University’s production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Heiman, co-producer and technical director of the production, said in the play young lovers get confused because fairies make a mistake and cause two boys to fall in love with the wrong girl, and the other girl is trying to figure out what she did wrong. Meanwhile, the king of the real world is getting married and four babbling idiots decide to put on a show for him.
“I’ve never given the note before in my life as a director, ‘that wasn’t bad enough. It could be worse. You actually did that scene too well (because the babbling idiots) have got to be bad,’” he said.
Part of the fun of the show was learning the 16th century English language.
“Don’t be afraid if it’s Shakespeare and you don’t think you’ll understand what’s going on,” Heiman said. “We’ve got that pretty well covered as to make sure that people understand the story.”
Heiman said the reason Shakespeare said things over and over again was because the average Englishman of his time period had a vocabulary four times the size of the 21st century American. Today, people have pictures, videos and means to describe something so others can understand, but in 16th century there wasn’t anything available but words to get a point across.
“We went through, and as much as our fellow English professors are going to cringe at the following statement, where Shakespeare repeated it four times, we said lets see if we can get that down to two,” Heiman said.
A fight scene was also added to the storyline to make the show a bit more interesting for the audience.
Baker’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” consists of 13 Baker students, two Baldwin City community members and one Baker alumna. Auditions were open to all Baldwin City community members.
“It’s a big show, so we open it up to the community and anybody who wanted to be in it,” Heiman said. “Usually when we do a larger show we really make an effort to try to get people in the community (involved).”
The two community members, Trevor Groundwater and Elizabeth Masson, are high school students. Masson has the role of Mustardseed, and Groundwater will play Philostrate.
The cast has been rehearsing for opening night since Jan.21 with three-hour rehearsals six days a week.
Performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2p.m. Sunday in Rice Auditorium.