BY JOSEPH CAPOZZO // APRIL 30, 2015 //
Entering the Keith Auditorium not knowing what to expect is what made this year’s Curry College Main Stage performance, of the Shakespearean classic “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” so extravagant and beautiful.
A more knowledgeable theater attendee might have noticed something slightly different about the famous comedy. In the first few lines, the character Theseus brags to Hippolyta that he “won her with his sword,” meaning their marriage was forced.
To provide some historical background, Technical Director John Barrett, a professor in the Communication Department, added an entirely new fight scene into the play—and made it the very first scene. The play ran from April 18-21. Barrett explained that he included the scene as a way of better informing the audience about the background of Theseus’ and Hippolyta’s relationship.
Said Stage Manager Rachel Bacos, a freshman psychology major: “The play is a love story where the mythical realm and human realm collide…and chaos ensues.”
The scene featured no added lines, only a battle between the kingdoms led by the Amazon queen Hippolyta and Theseus, of Athens, who battle each other at center stage. Members of their kingdoms battled beside them on either side of the stage.
Theseus’ men eventually restrain Hippolyta’s female assistants, leaving Hippolyta (sophomore communication major Megan Kosciak) and Theseus (senior communication major Mahmoud El-Zeftaway) to battle for the remainder of the scene until Hippolyta is defeated as well.
I must say that the battle scene had a huge impact on my perspective. In reflection, I realize I would not have paid much attention to the line about Theseus winning Hippolyta, and may have not attributed it to the way she acted on stage. However, having seen the battle before hearing any dialogue, I went into the experience knowing that there was some bad blood still left behind, and surely, some anger left brewing.
This small but major addition to the play was an excellent way of educating the audience about some underlying themes presented in the original script.
Of course, credit is due to those who put together all aspects of this show, including the 23 actors. Some have been working on their roles since the fall semester. Eleven were second semester seniors (El-Zeftaway, Carley Bonacci, Megan Cole, Nick Doonan, Ari Goldberg, Vanessa Kelly, Julia Levine, Kelly O’Donnell, Krystal Sears, Carlota Velazco, Nicole DelTorto and Laura Hartman).
The costume designer this year was a guest artist of Curry College. Elizabeth Tustian has worked with Barrett over the course of 20 years.
Professor Sarah Rozene-Wolski did the sets and lighting, and given that almost the entire play is set under the moonlight, the lighting cues were rather complex. She was also the shop foreman, and taught the stage crew class as well as oversaw theatre tech hours.
The following students were involved in the production side of the show: Goldberg (production director), Shelby Adams and Kosciak (lighting directors), Emma McDonnell (light board operator), Michael Carnevale (sound director), Bex DeSimone (sound operator), Marissa Edwards (costume manager), Dre Alexander (assistant costume manager), Cole (hair and makeup), Julia Friedman (props manager), Taylor Hays (assistant props manager), Carley Bonacci (scenic painter), Cortney Hammersley (assistant scenic painter) and Velazco (sound designer).
These students worked countless hours to put together the visual and audible aspects of the show—from the loud thunderstorms created by the angry Titania (Cole), to the decorated platforms leading to either side of the set, allowing Puck (Goldberg) to scurry stage left to right while misleading his disoriented victims, the show delivered the audience a deeply sensory experience.
The cast included:
El-Zeftaway (Theseus), Kosciak (Hippolyta), Velazco (Hippolyta’s attendant), Levine (Philostrate), Professor David Miller of the Library Department (Egeus), Bonacci (Hermia), Jameson Vogel (Lysander), Colin Grant (Demetrius), O’Donnell (Helena), Jaquan Harris (Peter Quince), Mikey Joyce (Nick Bottom), Carnevale (Francis Flute), Jimmy Bonneau (Starveling), Jeffrey Nunn (Snout), Adams (Snug), Goldberg (Puck), Elaina Druid (Fairy), Cole (Titania), Doonan (Oberon), Kelly (Peaseblossom), Nicolette Moyer (Moth), Brett Duffy (Cobweb), Sears (Mustardseed)
The stage manager was Rachel Bacos, the assistant stage manager was Jenn Tegnell, DelTorto served as general manager. The director of the theater concentration is Professor DL Garren of the Communication Department.