UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | April 17, 2024

‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ unveils Shakespeare’s magic, fantasy for the theatre department

The students in Utah Tech’s theatre department have put their heart and souls into this spring’s production, Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Paving a way for students to express themselves through the art of theater, this production holds the opportunity for them to portray their abilities and talents to their peers and community. Miki Akiyama | Sun News Daily

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The lights dim and the floor of the stage begins to glow an arrangement of different colors. Out steps a little boy to begin the play filled with Shakespearean magic.

Utah Tech University’s theatre department is hosting a production of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for the spring schedule.

This production collides the real and fairy worlds together to tell the story of four young lovers and a nearby group of amateur actors who stumbled into an enchanted forest. It tells the comedic adventure of what happens when mortals cross paths with the Fairy King and Queen, where there is a thin line between reality and illusions with Puck only knowing the truth.

Brandon Bruce, assistant professor of theatre, is the director of the production. He explained that the process of choosing this production had to do with needing to do a Shakespeare-related piece every two years, which ended up being this semester. Bruce said the designers were really excited about the pitch of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and so it stuck.

The cast has been preparing for the show since the beginning of the spring semester. Rehearsals began with table work, reading through the script, and ended with repetitive run-throughs to get the production as close to perfect as possible.

“It’s not an easy show,” Bruce said. “It’s Shakespeare, so in general, the language is very heightened, and that takes a certain amount of training to get everybody up to speed on that.”

The production is also a very physical show with multiple sword fights and tumbles, as well as dancing. Bruce said they tried to get the choreography learned as soon as possible so that it became muscle memory for the actors.

The cast also has multiple different routines they do before going on the stage. Ashlie Chaston, a junior theatre major from Roy, explained one of the routines as “crossing the threshold.”

“It’s where the cast comes together and we cross an imaginary boundary, where we go from our everyday selves into our higher, creative selves,” Chaston said. “I like it because it helps me get in the mindset for the performance.”

Another element of the production is the lighting of the set. The stage is a light-up platform and changes as the play progresses. Certain actors are also seen with the soles of their shoes glowing. Bruce said he is excited about how energetic and innovative this production is, while also being interactive with the audience.

Joss Carlisle, a senior theatre major from Hurricane, is the assistant director and said this production is very inviting.

“With this production, anytime I’ve seen a full run-through, I’ve always felt extremely invited and engaged, which is something that is really special,” Carlisle said.

Carlisle also said it is a great show for the audience to have a good time due to the humor found throughout it. On the opening night of the production, there was a full audience of varying ages who were heard sharing multiple laughs throughout the night.

For Chaston, the biggest thing she wants is for people to show up and watch the production. In the play, she is starring as Puck and Philostrate.

Chaston said: “I’ve put in so much work and everybody in the cast has put in so much work. We put our hearts and souls into it, and I just want people to see it.”

Bruce said to not let the fact that it is Shakespeare intimidate you into not watching the production. He said out of most Shakespearean plays, it has the least intimidating language and is easy to follow along with.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is performed in the Eccles Blackbox Theatre from Feb. 29-March 2 and March 5-March 9 at 7:30 p.m. There is also a post-show talkback on March 6-7 immediately following the performance, where the audience can ask any questions.

“I know like everybody and their mom says this when they’re trying to get you to come see a play, but honestly, if you want to have a good time, come see this play,” Carlisle said.