P O W E L L, W y o. - Shakespeare's magical land of moonlight and fairies comes alive Thursday and Friday, Dec. 13 and 14, when "A Midsummer Night's Dream" hits the stage at the Nelson Performing Arts Center Auditorium in Powell. The curtain rises at 7 p.m. for both performances.
Fred Ebert and Robert Hunt direct the "community-style" production. Hunt is a Northwest College alum who now teaches theater at Powell High School. Ebert, also an NWC alum, is serving a one-year stint as visiting instructor of speech communications and forensics at Northwest.
"This production should help anyone overcome a fear of Shakespeare," Ebert said. "The dialogue is reasonable to understand, and the plot is certainly amusing." To add to the novelty, the play is set during Shakespeare's time, but the costuming has a definite Middle Eastern flair.
"We've gone for the physical comedy in this play," he said, adding that the production is actually just a cutting from the original script, only an hour and a half long. Ebert said the major directive in the production was to have fun - he wanted the actors to have fun at rehearsals and he wants the audience enjoy what happens as a result.
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" is a romantic comedy and one of Shakespeare's most popular plays. It follows the adventures of four young lovers, associated relatives and royalty, an assortment of fairies and a group of amateur actors. Much of the action and resulting chaos happens deep in the forest in the magical moonlit domain of the fairies. True to Shakespearean comedic form, there are plenty of mistaken identities, star-crossed lovers, comedic switcheroos, weddings and happy endings.
The cast features actors whose ages range from pre-teen to "senior citizen status," Ebert's tongue-in-cheek reference to Duane Fish, another NWC faculty who stars as Egeus in the play.
Other NWC actors include students Spencer Perry of Livingston, Mont.; Hannah Rose Streeter, Green River; Monique Koller, Laramie; Alex John Stringer, Socorro, N.M.; Jodi Turner and Roni Lynn Gillespie, Thermopolis; Bryce Cornatzer, Lovell; Lili Schoer, Billings, Mont.; and Gerry Thomas Parker of Deaver, who's handling understudy duties.
Powell High School is represented by Tracy A. Lewis Jr., Preston Eckerdt, Malorie Estes, Josie Loid Nickles, Christina Reid and Mitch Sleep, plus Hunt. Rounding out the cast are Powell Middle School students Grant Nickles, Harli Meari Riddle, Tessa Cozzens, Alex Flom, Rebecca Marie Waite, Lacey Packard and Emily LePlante.
The production is sponsored by the Northwest College Persuaders, a club for forensics students. In order to cover costs, the club is charging $5 per seat for admission.