Sinclair presents Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer’

Jonathan Kelly (Paramus), Spencer Boden (Wall) and Elisha Chamberlin (Thisby) are part of the show within a show during Sinclair Theatre’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” continuing through Feb. 18 in Blair Hall Theatre. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Jonathan Kelly (Paramus), Spencer Boden (Wall) and Elisha Chamberlin (Thisby) are part of the show within a show during Sinclair Theatre’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” continuing through Feb. 18 in Blair Hall Theatre. CONTRIBUTED

The mirth and merriment of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” one of the Bard’s most popular and beloved comedies, continues at Sinclair Community College through Saturday, Feb. 18 in Blair Hall Theatre.

Adapted and directed by Nelson Sheeley, “Midsummer” brings romance to the forefront as four lovers (Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius, and Helena) intersect in a magical forest inhabited by mischievous fairies. The play’s four interconnecting plots, surrounding the wedding of Duke Theseus of Athens and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, includes six amateur actors also manipulated by the fairies.

“I wanted to do this show for a number of reasons,” Sheeley said. “I wanted to expose the students to Shakespeare and get them over their angst about the material and its iambic pentameter. I keep telling them, ‘It’s just a play –a really good one, but it’s still just a play.’ All the characters except Egeus are age appropriate for college kids and (the play) is accessible to an audience.”

“‘Midsummer’ is most famous as an analogy to the fickle nature of love,” echoed Leo Santucci, who portrays Theseus and dynamically portrayed the title role in Sinclair’s production of “Dracula” earlier this season. “Shakespeare takes something that is impossible to truly explain in any normal poetic way and explains it with the fairies, little invisible creatures dictating a mortal’s love interest for their own entertainment. Thereby, describing the bizarre circumstances under which true love develops.”

The production incorporates Felix Mendelssohn’s 1842 score, including his well-known “Wedding March.” His music underscores scenes and is specifically featured in two production numbers, a lullaby for Titania, Queen of the Fairies, and the finale.

“My personal reason for wanting to do this show was to include all that great music,” Sheeley admitted. “The public only really knows the overture so here they’ll have a chance to hear the other tunes in context.”

“Mendelssohn’s score is often performed in concert as ‘Midsummer’ is often performed onstage, however, you almost never see the two together anymore in a production such as this,” Santucci noted.

“I’m especially pleased we’re using the Mendelssohn incidental music,” added Charles Larkowski, who portrays Hermia’s father Egeus and appeared as Baptista in Sheeley’s 2012 production of “The Taming of the Shrew.” “In turn, it has given rise to a balletic element that most productions don’t have. It has been terrific to be in a production with Nabachwa Ssensalo and witness her creativity as choreographer and performer. I love working at Sinclair. It’s a well-run program, and it’s fun to watch a production come together with cast and crew of widely different levels of experience.”

The cast includes Courtney Kakac as Hippolyta, Robert Hyer as Lysander, Maximillian Santucci as Demetrius, Gabriella Neuerer as Hermia, Elisa Fuentes as Helena, Chelsey Hall as Puck, Marley Judd as Peaseblossom, S. Francis Livisay as Oberon, Bryana Bentley as Titania, Sha-Lemar Davis as Moth, Danni McClendon as Mustard Seed, Matt Lindsay as Quince, Tristan Rivera as Snug, Jonathan Kelly as Bottom, Elisha Chamberlin as Flute, Spencer Boden as Snout, Jai-Ln Stafford as Starveling, Andre Tomlinson as Philostrate, the aforementioned Ssensalo as Cobweb, Kimberly Borst and Stephanie Voelker as Singers, and Thomas Puckett and Justin Lampkins as Dancers.

“We need to laugh now more than ever,” Sheeley said. “So, here’s some Shakespeare without a brooding Dane or an ambitious murdering Scottish King. Shakespeare scholars will probably rankle at this, but ‘Midsummer’ is pretty much just froth and silliness and that’s why I love it. Also, the costumes are particularly based on paintings, principally ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ by Heironymus Bosch. (Bosch’s) painting is filled with weird, surrealistic Dali-esque figures which I thought would fit the show since we have a bunch of supernatural creatures messing with the humans.”

“Midsummer’ is a fantastical fun play,” Santucci said. “If you go for the laughs, you are appreciating it exactly as it was meant to be appreciated. And this play has a lot of laughs!”

WANT TO GO?

What: "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Where: Blair Hall Theatre, Building 2, Sinclair Community College, 444 W. Third St., Dayton

When: Through Feb. 18; 2 p.m. Today; 7 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Cost: $15-$18; All seats are $10 on Thursday (Throwback Thursday)

Tickets/more info: Call (937) 512-2808 or visit sinclair.edu/tickets

FYI: Thursday and Sunday performances are American Sign Language Interpreted