Jeffrey Demoe (left), Danica Ariand, Avril Baldauf (back left), RJ Liebelt, Ellen Campbell, Nelya McDowell, Bynne Ponipal and Shelby Bannick gear up for 27th Street Theatre Company’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Seaton Secondary May 31 to June 9. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Seaton theatre delves into Shakespearian woods

Vernon’s Seaton Secondary 27th Street Theatre Company presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream

It’s perhaps William Shakespeare’s most accessible play and certainly his most magical.

Seaton Secondary’s 27th Street Theatre Company presents Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream May 31 to June 9.

“It’s really accessible. It doesn’t deal with really complex themes. And I just love Shakespeare so I do Shakespeare whenever possible,” laughed teacher and director Lana O’Brien. “We had just the exact right number of people to do this play.”

Written in 1595-1596, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is split into three separate yet intertwined storylines and primarily takes place in the forest.

Shakespeare’s classic kicks off with Duke Theseus and his betrothed Amazon Queen Hippolyta. However, trouble is brewing in the kingdom as two sets of lovers quarrel.

As their storyline progresses, so to do the trials and tribulations of a group of blue-collar workers turned actors in the midst of preparing a production for the royal wedding.

And, in the forest, where A Midsummer Night’s Dream unfolds, fairies meddle in the lives of those who wander into the woods. But these aren’t your typical fairies, O’Brien said.

“They’re not the tooth fairy,” O’Brien said. “Our fairies and magical creatures are not what you’d expect. They’re very earthy.”

While they may be mischievous, O’Brien said they are far from scary and instead add an impactful comedic element to the production.

“I love it. For one, it’s beautiful and it’s a challenge. There are so many special effects and magic,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien loves it so much, in fact, that it’s the third-and-a-half time she’s directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“The first was as a new teacher, in Invermere, then I did The Mechanicals as a stand-alone piece for Shakespeare festival in the early 2000s. We did a DooWop rock musical version at Seaton in 2009, and we’re super excited to do yet another rendition,” O’Brien said. “Each time we do a show, we learn something new. That’s part of what is so exciting about teaching theatre. We learn as much as the kids do.”

Armed with a cast of roughly 35 students in Grades 9 through 12, A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been in the works since a one-month acting intensive at the beginning of the semester.

“While the sets, costumes, and tech are stunningly supportive of the story, ultimately, the language is the key. We spend an inordinate amount of time working on articulation and diction. If the audience can’t understand the story, there is no point in all the rest of the theatre magic,” O’Brien said. “So often you’re too focused on the show we really don’t have time to teach acting.”

However, OBrien said, her class is dedicated to the craft and many also appear in other productions throughout town.

“There’s a bunch of kids, myself included, in Jesus Christ Superstar. They’re not just doing theatre here,” O’Brien said, noting that her students also recently appeared in Powerhouse Theatre’s Calendar Girls and Lights of Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast.

During the annual Goodwill Shakespeare festival, which O’Brien hosts alongside her fellow drama teachers, the Seaton class had a chance to perform a pared down, 25-minute version of the production.

“Now they have to relearn all of their lines,” O’Brien laughed, noting that they had to forget a good portion of the production for that Goodwill Shakespeare festival performance.

However, O’Brien said, given the students’ dedication and practice, they’re ready to bring A Midsummer Night’s Dream to life.

“Everyone will love it,” O’Brien said. “It’s colourful, magical and fun.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs at Seaton Secondary May 31 to June 9 at 7:30 p.m., no shows on Sunday and Monday, plus a 2 p.m. matinee June 9. Tickets are available for $15 by calling 250-542-3361 ext. 2227 or by visiting the Seaton main office during school hours.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Lumby featured on CBC show Still Standing

Filming concludes Friday with a comedy show at the White Valley Community Centre.

Author gives presentation on life in remote Nepal at Caetani House

Author Dorje Dolma presents her book Yak Girl: Growing Up in the Remote Dolpo Region of Nepal on Friday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. at Caetani Centre in Vernon.

Three Vernon-area organizations receive provincial grants

The province is providing a total of $673,124 in project development grants to support rural communities throughout B.C.

Armstrong healthcare society recruiting physician

One doctor moves to Australia; Haugen Healthcare Society looking to fill void

Shuswap Insurance Brokers joins SASCU Financial Group

Shuswap Insurance staff and location in Enderby will remain the same.

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

Explosion sends B.C. firefighter to hospital

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Heavy snowfall expected on the Coquihalla

Snowfall warning in effect for the Coquihalla Highway, from Hope to Merritt

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

COLUMN: Anger rising in Yellow Vests Canada movement

While the protests so far have been peaceful and orderly, there is also a simmering level of rage

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

Most Read