Gladstone High gives Shakespeare a modern twist
Couples in and out of love, a mischievous imp, fairies, elves and a king and queen will take to the stage at 7 p.m. April 14 and 15 at Gladstone High School, in the drama department's staging of "A Midsummer Night's Dream - The Musical."
But expect the unexpected when a boy band appears and Shakespeare himself "shows up and doesn't like people singing" in his classic play, said director and drama teacher Emmett Pearson.
The production is a modern-language version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which Pearson thinks is one of Shakespeare's best plays.
This musical, adapted by Wade Bradford, features all original music and lyrics by Rachel Greenlee and Bradford, and "is much easier to follow than the original," Pearson said. "The music isn't cheesy and there are so many talented singers that it was hard to cast. The play is chock full of talent.
"The reason I was able to do a musical this year is because the district hired an assistant who is also the choir teacher, and he has extensive musical theater experience," she said.
At the heart of the plot are Oberon, the king of the fairies, played by senior Isaac Carrillo, and Titania, the queen of the fairies, played by freshman Ava Johnson.
The king and queen are angry with each other and Oberon directs Puck to create havoc, as the two sets of couples, Hermia and Lysander and Helena and Demetrius, blunder through the forest.
All ends well and harmony returns as the characters find true love.
This is Carrillo's last play and Johnson's first.
What Carrillo finds the most fun about portraying Oberon is "playing an authority role," while Johnson likes the fact that Titania is "rebellious and really sassy." She also noted that playing a main role in her first play has allowed her to "open up as an actor."
The biggest challenge in putting on the production has been getting all 35 members of the cast to attend 10 weeks of after-school rehearsals, Pearson said.
But "it has been fun watching them perform and improvise every day."
This is the biggest cast she has ever worked with and also has a huge crew.
What audiences will like about this version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is "the comedy. And the songs are great; there are so many strong voices," Pearson said.
The last night of the show will be bittersweet for her and the cast, she said, adding, "For 13 seniors, this is their last show. I'll cry; they'll cry."
Is this a dream?
What: The Gladstone High School drama department presents "A Midsummer Night's Dream - The Musical"
When: 7 p.m. April 14 and 15
Where: Gladstone High School, 18800 Portland Ave.
Ticket: $5 at the door
Details: Whimsically adapted from Shakespeare's classic romantic comedy, this musical features the usual magical forest and spellbound lovers, but also an upstart Puck who decides to liven things up by modernizing the dialogue and adding song and dance numbers. Appropriate for all ages.