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.


@VernonNews
parker.crook@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Bail decision not yet reached for Vernon murder suspect

Paramjit Singh Bogarh will appear in Vernon Law Courts at 9 a.m. June 29 for bail decision

Cyclists touring B.C. to highlight Ukraine struggle

A group of Ukrainian cyclists are travelling 100,000 kilometres to raise awareness for Ukraine war.

One trapped, one thrown from truck in Enderby crash

UPDATE: Two occupants in truck rollover out Enderby-Mabel Lake Road Monday

UPDATE: Suspect sought in car theft

Stolen vehicle flees scene in Ashton Creek, found behind Polson Park in Vernon

Falkland artist favours, fights for fish

Lottie Kozak does all kinds of art; one of her favourite subjects, fish, is dwindling

Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing

BC Housing says 160 homeless people are being moved into temporary Whalley suites from June 19 to 21

Port of Prince Rupert names Shaun Stevenson as new CEO

Stevenson has worked for the port for 21 years as vice president of trade development

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of B.C. couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Legends stoked for playdowns

Bantam B lacrosse at Nor-Val Sports Centre

Most Read