J.E.B Stuart High School A Midsummer Night’s DreamBy Cappies • Nov 18th, 2010 • Category: Cappies
Frivolous fairies became bewitched creatures. The cheeky goblin henchman was transformed into an elusive acrobat. Although it may have strayed from typical interpretations, a surreal and artistic world was crafted for audiences who attended JEB Stuart’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The Shakespearean comedy, which has been performed for over 400 years, explores the power of love and the depths of the imagination. The play follows a group of mortals entangled in a love quadrangle who have fled from Athens into an enchanted forest. Once in the woods, their fate is in the hands of the fairies, led by the feuding King and Queen, Oberon and Titiania and the servant, Puck, who wreaks havoc by toying with the mortals’ affections and manipulating a troupe of dim-witted actors.
One of the biggest challenges in executing A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the language barrier. Making Shakespeare’s complex text accessible to audiences is no simple task; however, almost all members of JEB Stuart’s cast tackled the script triumphantly, allowing the language come to life.
From the first scene, the lover, Lysander, played by Niusha Nawab, was a standout. He had convincing line delivery and a well-defined understanding of his character and motives. Later in the show, when under a love spell, Nawab was able to depict the preposterous situation in a believable manner. Also notable was the portrayal of Helena by Jaime Ahlborn. As a character desperately seeking attention, Ahlborn got the audience to empathize with her. She had sharp facial expressions and amusing physical comedy. On the contrary to Nawab and Ahlborn, some actors played their characters as stiff and one-dimensional; not showcasing any vocal variety or emotional transitions.
Elliot Roth stole the show as Nick Bottom, the overly dramatic Weaver. Roth had commanding stage presence and exaggerated physicality that characterized him as self-absorbed. His enthusiasm and spot-on comedic timing made him a joy to watch. Roth’s supporting ensemble, The Mechanicals, played well off each other and brought an abundance of energy to the stage.
The technical elements of A Midsummer Night’s Dream enhanced the production. Multi-colored light schemes and eerie sound cues were used to depict the land of the fairies and set a fanciful mood. Spotlights held on actors were consistent, even when the actors ventured into the audience. Bizarre, colorful make-up and unkempt hair on the fairies added characterization and an element of fantasy.
From the hilarious play-within-a-play to the captivating fairy world, JEB Stuart was successful in doing what all Shakespearean comedies strive to do: entertain.
by Emily Woods of West Potomac
Photo by Paul Remy.
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