Artist Series to transport audience to dreamworld

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Artist Series to transport audience to dreamworld

Sophomore theatre majors Steven White and Hannah Allen play classic characters in a modernized context.
Photo: Melia Covington

 

A dynamic cast and crew of BJU students and faculty will present an updated version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for a modern audience from Tuesday until Thursday.

Ron Pyle, a faculty member in the department of theatre and the director of the play, said the vision for the production is to present A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a 21st century way. 

Design: Arianna Rayder

“We wanted to update the production and make it seem fresh and contemporary for a modern audience,” said Pyle. “We didn’t go in the direction of realism. … The audience fills in a lot of things with their imagination.”

Pyle said this production does not have a particular historical setting. “It’s actually sort of modern in costuming, but the fairies are in a totally different … world altogether,” Pyle said. “Some of the characters look like they belong in the 19th century, and some look like they belong in the 21st century.”

Pyle believes students can get more from the play than just entertainment. “The story itself is really interesting because it examines the idea of love from many different directions and perspectives,” Pyle said. “I think that [the subject matter] is something everyone can enjoy, and this is actually one of the funniest plays that Shakespeare wrote.”

Jeff Stegall, a faculty member in the theatre department and the lead designer for this production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, said the interpretation of the classic play is a little different this time around. 

“[The director’s] basic concept was Carnivàle,” Stegall said. “During the day the city is normal, and then at night magical things happen.”

Stegall said the production crew has been holding onto the idea of the play being like a dream.  “When you have a dream, sometimes things don’t make sense,” Stegall said. “[In the production] there are some elements that remind us of Greece, and then there are other elements that remind us of Elizabethan [times], and they might be mixed.”

Cearul Carpenter, a  freshman fashion design major playing Philostrate in the upcoming production, said one thing he is looking forward to is the costumes. 

“I’m looking forward to learning more about the intent behind the different costumes,” Carpenter said. “At the beginning of the play, the people of the court are dressing very sensibly, and towards the end colors start to be added in to [the costumes], and it’s because this revelry is coming around, which is very fun.”

Eden Rowland, a sophomore theatre major playing the role of Mustardseed the fairy, said she has enjoyed getting to know her character. “The way I play Mustardseed is very playful and kind of mischievous,” Rowland said. “There’s a lot of freedom in playing her, so figuring out who she is has been such a fun and wonderful process.”

Trent Thompson, a member of the Rodeheaver Auditorium light crew and the person directing the follow spotlights for the A Midsummer Night’s Dream production, said the most challenging aspect of his job is conveying the message of the play to the audience. 

Thompson also said his favorite part of the show is the ending when the cast comes from behind the curtain.