'A Midsummer Night's Dream' opens Jan. 24 at Academy of Children's Theatre

Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 22, 2014 

The Academy of Children’s Theatre presents Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

COURTESY MISTY FEWEL

Drama students with the Academy of Children's Theatre will take on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, opening Jan. 24 in the black box theater at the Richland studio.

"This is the first time the cast has tackled a work by Shakespeare," said director Julie Schroeder. "Some of them prepared for auditions by taking a Shakespeare workshop taught by Ellicia Elliott."

That workshop helped introduce the students to Shakespeare-speak, she added.

"The whole first week of rehearsals, we worked around the table discussing and working on language, delivery and the meaning of works and dialogue," Schroeder said. "There was a lot of laughter that first week, as they found out what the characters were actually saying to one another."

ACT's production will bring Shakespeare's comedy into the 20th century, setting it in San Francisco's 1967 summer of love instead of somewhere between 1590-96.

The story follows the antics of a spirited fairy named Puck, who instigates all sorts of hilarious trouble for a cast of characters that includes Oberon, Titania, Hermia, Helena, Lysander, Demetrius, Egeus, Theseus, Hippolyta and Bottom.

The script was revised for youngsters by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which describes the plot this way:

Hermia loves her schoolmate Lysander, but her father wants her to marry Demetrius, who's also the heartthrob of her best friend, Helena.

Threatened with death or a convent if she doesn't do what her dad wants, Hermia and Lysander skip school and head for the woods. With Helena and Demetrius in hot pursuit, they and some well-meaning, artistically challenged faculty members run into a magical free-for-all between Oberon and Titania, his fairy queen.

From there, it's a wild night for lovers and lunatics, swirling with madcap Elizabethan flourishes.

Showtime is at 7 p.m. Jan. 24-25, 31 and Feb. 1 with 3 p.m. matinees Jan. 24 and Feb. 1. Admission is $13 for adults, $10 for ages 13 to 18 and $7 for ages 12 and younger. Tickets are available at the door.

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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