Robinson Secondary School Midsummer/JerseyBy Cappies • Nov 23rd, 2011 • Category: Cappies
Who would have thought that Jersey Shore and “Shakespeare” could ever be used in the same sentence, much less come together seamlessly in a world premiere production?
Celebrated playwright Ken Ludwig, wrote Midsummer/Jersey and was able to work personally with the student cast to perfect his play. This mash-up of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Jersey Shore gives a timely, hilarious, easy to understand version of the Shakespearian romantic comedy.
In the play, the two love-struck couples become lost in the wooded beach. The fairies that inhabit the wood decide to have fun with the lovers and confuse their affections. Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream explored by New Jersey teens provided for many pop culture references, jokes and songs well-known and loved by adolescents everywhere.
Mia or “Cookie” DiCarlo (Gabby Rojtman), the counterpart of the Shakespearian Hermia, gave her part sass and sparkle with a simple flip of her poofed hair. Her leopard print dress, small stature, and stiletto shoes added to her serious Jersey attitude and charisma. Lyle or “The Understatement” Fagioli (Ethan Malamud), the Shakespearian Lysander, barely held back in showing his adoration for his forbidden love, Mia. His well-timed, “Family Guy” poetry kept Mia flabbergasted in his “romantic wisdom.” Helene (Emily Rowson) and Denis (Kolya Rabinowitch), the second floundering couple, provided a stark contrast to the love-struck interactions between Rojtman and Malamud. Mia’s slight stature and Helene’s towering height gave their cat-fight a comic flair.
From his rip-stick entrance to his dancing exit, Puck (Adam Bradley), Oberon the Fairy King’s right-hand fairy, kept the audience in stitches. With his boyish charm and love-meddling antics, he showed the audience what a true Jersey Shore fairy was. The Hairdressing Mechanicals, inspired delight in the audience each time they rehearsed their rendition of Romeo and Juliet for the Governor’s wedding. Nikki Bottom (Carys Meyer), the strong-willed hair stylist from the Mechanicals’ ensemble, provoked shrieks of laughter from the audience every time she uttered a word. Her performance was exceptionally egotistical, yet immensely endearing.
The sets, lighting, sounds and costumes were brilliantly intertwined showing remarkable timing in their cues. The elevated boardwalk set provided depth and interest to the choreography. Even the vibrantly colored lighting changed as the emotions on stage shifted. Actors beneath the tall boardwalk set playing instruments and sound effects added to the creativity of the production. The tattooed winged fairies, captured the modern, edgy, Jersey aspect while offering a beautifully magical presence.
Robinson Secondary School’s world premiere of Ken Ludwig’s Midsummer/Jersey is a fresh take on two completely different shows in a contemporary, yet charming production. This production captured the beauty and timelessness of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in an easy to understand Jersey Shore setting that will stick to your mind and heart for a long time to come.
by Danika Saxon of Teens and Theatre Homeschool program
Photos by Frank Ruth
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