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Homeschool Teens N Theatre A Midsummer Night’s Dream

By • Apr 27th, 2009 • Category: Cappies

The Homeschool Teens N Theatre production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream lit up Ballston Common Mall’s Comedy Spot with a bright spectrum of colors and an equally colorful cast of characters.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream was written by William Shakespeare, shortly after the completion of his famous tale of tragic lovers, “Romeo and Juliet.” It is said that Shakespeare sought a different perspective on love when he wrote A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and so the play takes on a comic rather than a tragic perspective. The play takes place in Ancient Greece, in the city of Athens. It begins on the eve of the wedding of Theseus (a duke) and Hippolyta (his bride). On that same day Hermia is fated to marry Demetrius, but she loves another, Lysander. Meanwhile, Demetrius is loved by Helena, who decides to tip him off when she learns that Hermia and Lysander plan to flee Athens and elope. The result is all four youths fleeing into the woods, where a group of fairies, and an amateur band of actors rehearsing a play for the wedding of the duke, make things very complicated and very funny.

The Homeschool Teens N Theater troupe brought a new vitality to Shakespeare’s work. While they had many obstacles to overcome, including a small work space and difficult Shakespearean English, the energy onstage was infectious. It was obvious that the actors were having a good time, and the audience could not help but join in the fun.

As both the duke Theseus, and the fairy king Oberon, Richard Yingling stood out among the cast for his excellent diction, and superb energy. His female counter part, Leila Giles, who played both Hippolyta, and the fairy queen Titania, was equally good. Other stand out performances included Lexi Haddad, who played the lovelorn Helena, and Anson Rutherford, who brought to life the classic role of Puck.

Those who are familiar with A Midsummer Night’s Dream know that the text is rich with bit parts and cameos, perfect for character actors. The Homeschool Teens N Theatre production included the hysterical performance of William Angel as Nick Bottom, the weaver turned actor, who is given the head of a donkey by the mischievous Puck. William Angel rose to meet his role’s slapstick potential. Joseph DeRoma also made the most of the play’s opportunities for physical comedy, and it was arguable whether he was funnier as Mustardseed (a fairy) or Thisbe (his female role in the play within a play).

Shakespeare’s work was brought to life by costumes and make-up every bit as colorful as the characters he created. Particularly memorable were the fairies’ costumes, each of which had a separate theme. Togas, and gladiator style sandals added an authentic touch. The set, which was assembled in black box style, used earthy tones and creative lighting to evoke a woodsy feel.

With the use of a strong energy, great physical comedy, and technical aspects that were at once classic and innovative, the Homeschool Teens N Theatre Company successfully took audience members off to a midsummer night.

by Nora Daly of The New School of Northern Virginia

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