Tartan students rise to the challenge of performing ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’


In the Tartan High School rendition of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Demetrius, played by Sebastian Pruitt, does not return the affection of Helena played by Abi Lampert.

Puck, played by Sasha Tomasevich, crouches on the bench as he listens to Oberon’s plan. Oberon, the King of the fairies played by Matthew Mortensen, explains his mischievous plot to end an ongoing argument with his wife Titania, played by Cassie Osuji.

It may still be spring in Minnesota, but this weekend at Tartan Theatre it is mid-summer. Tartan students are performing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at 7 p.m. April 27 through 29 and at 2 p.m. on April 30. 

Mischief meets merriment in this fresh reimagining of what some may consider to be Shakespeare’s most popular romantic comedy. In just one night, four magical stories are cleverly woven together: the marriage of the Athenian duke to the Amazon queen; the battle of the king and queen of the fairies; the follies of four lovers in a forest; and the hilarious antics of amateur actors staging a play. Enter a vibrant world where fairies dance around, a donkey bursts into song and a love potion makes your perspective turn on a dime.

Director Ryan DeLaCroix pointed out that although “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” may be considered one of Shakespeare’s most humorous and most widely presented plays, “typically high schools don’t take the challenge of attempting such difficult material.” He added that high school teachers often cover Shakespeare’s work in language arts classes, but the material rarely makes it to high school stages. 

“[‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’] is so widely done because it’s the most accessible [Shakespeare play] in terms of understanding the language, message and story. The students get to learn how to talk as Shakespeare talked and understand the strange ways things were described, spoke of and how that differs with today,” DeLaCroix said. “It broadens any actor’s wheelhouse by knowing Shakespeare and having that on their resumé.”  

He added that Tartan students primarily perform non-traditional pieces that the local community would not otherwise have access to, but when the right classic piece presents itself, it is added to the mix. This is actually the first time Tartan students are performing a Shakespeare play.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” involves 32 students ranging from freshmen to seniors “and they all play an important role in the story,” DeLaCroix said.

Tickets to this family-friendly performance range from $5 to $8 and can be purchased online at tartantheatre.org or at the door. 

 

—Aundrea Kinney

 

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