ALAMOSA – Magic and flowers, fairies and kings, lovers and actors, the Adams State University Theatre program will perform William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the annual holiday season production on the San Luis Valley Federal Bank Main Stage. Tickets go on sale at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the ASU Theatre Box Office.
Long-time fans of Shakespeare as well as the Shakespeare novice will appreciate the humor and love tangles in the play, directed by Jenna Neilsen, associate professor of theatre. “My goal was to choose the most accessible of all Shakespeare’s plays. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, there is physical comedy, colorful sets and costumes, and themes that relate to everyone.”
The play takes part in two worlds, Athens and the fairy forest. The situation comedy includes mismatched lovers, dancing, singing, and several fight scenes. “The play is family friendly theatre for all ages,” Neilsen added. “Four young lovers find their way into a forest and experience the magic of the fairy kingdom.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream also has three subplots, including a troupe of bad actors producing a play. “Most of us have experienced loving a person who loves someone else or can relate to poorly produced theatre and the magic of the fairies reminds us we cannot control everything in our lives.”
Neilsen uses contemporary classic design elements for the sets (designed by David Gerke, assistant professor of theatre) and costumes. She chose Caribbean and Jamaican music for flavor. “Come warm up on a cold Colorado December night.” Although the actors will speak the words of Shakespeare they will not affect an accent. “All my choices support my goal of directing an accessible Shakespeare play. I want audience members with preconceptions or apprehensions of not being able to understand the play to leave thinking ‘that was super fun and I understood everything.’”
The cast includes 25 students including four graduating seniors: Lauren Trujillo, Taylor Trujillo, Joshua Gilbertson, and Elissa Davis; and first-year students who will appear on the Main Stage for the first time. “Our students don’t tackle Shakespeare in the classroom until they are juniors or seniors,” Neilsen said. “I’ve enjoyed exposing the less-experienced to the Bard.” She even cast her own sons, aged 4 and 7, in the show. “I am introducing them to Shakespeare young!”
As with many Main Stage productions, Neilsen collaborated with others. She asked Alexis Black, visiting professor of theatre, to be the movement director for the show. “Alexis has been fantastic. This play is physical in ways I have not directed before. The students are learning so many wonderful movement techniques because of her.” Neilsen also appreciates Aubrey Lucero and Jared Lucero for helping with the dance choreography.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been performed across the globe for the last 400 years. “I think in today’s climate we all need opportunities to come together and experience joy and laughter and experience the positive side of human condition,” Neilsen added. The play has been an opportunity for her and the cast members and to remember what unites people. “I fully expect the audience to enjoy themselves and escape into the magical world that people have escaped into the last four hundred years. It is exciting and awe-inspiring to realize how many productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream have been done around world. I am excited to bring this communal experience to our community.”
The play will run about two hours with one 10-minute intermission. Neilsen recommends the play for ages 10 and up. Public performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream begin at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1, 8 and 9 and 2 p.m. Dec. 10.
Tickets are $10 for general public, $9 for seniors and students, and free to Associated Students and Faculty with current Adams State identification. The box office is open from 2:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Tickets may also be reserved by calling 719-587-8499.