Saturday, October 25, 2014

Theatre Prospero and students present A Midsummer Night's Dream at Matthew Halton School

The cast at final bow
T. Lucas photos and video
Toni Lucas

As part of the Experiential Learning Week Program being held at Matthew Halton and Livingstone High Schools, one option students could choose for their course was theatre production. This year Theatre Prospero worked with the school to present  Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' at Matthew Halton School on Thursday, October 23 in the band room, which was filled with an appreciative audience.

The students put in a lot of effort to be able to present a full play in such a short time frame. Before the play started it was explained that some characters would be played by more than one actor so that more actors could have a chance to be in a speaking role, but the character would always have the same outfit.  There were few missed lines. A few of the missed lines were on purpose within the traditional play within the play, and were very funny to watch. With minimal sets, a restricted space, and good lighting, the band room was transformed into a forest.  The acting was excellent, and the play was portrayed with a lot of emotion.

In the play, Theseus Duke of Athens and Amazon Queen Hippolyta have to deal with their own upcoming nuptials while administering the laws of mortals. The maiden Hermia is to marry Demetrius but instead loves Lysander, while her friend Helena deeply pines for Demetrius who does not return her affections. It may be up to the Duke to uphold the law of death for the young woman if she will not marry the man chosen for her or go to a convent for the rest of her life. There was strife between the Fairy Queen Titania and the Fairy King Oberon, magical mischief by energetic pucks, fairies that flitted in and out of the plot with delicate grace, and all manners of woe suffered by mortals that are experiencing true love, unrequited love, or who are just lovelorn, especially when magical love spells go awry.

Fairies Kaycee Wyatt, Jilanna Hammond, and Dalys Kipling 
The character of Bottom was made an ass of once again, as he has been since the play was written over 400 years ago, somewhere between 1590 and 1600. Poor Bottom. In the end, was it all a dream?

Madilyn Whitehead, frozen in time as Rosebud
Theatre Prospero is based in Edmonton and is a theatre troupe that specializes in teaching students to learn and present a Shakespearean play in a short time frame, usually in 3 or 5 days. Twenty eight students worked with the troupe to present this rendition of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' on Thursday evening. On Friday they worked on various drama techniques including stage combat.  Theatre Prospero Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Hobbs was very pleased with how the production turned out.  "It went extremely well. The kids were awesome."

Theatre Prospero has visited the area before, working in the past with students at Livingstone School in Lundbreck.

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