By Kait Laubscher
A timeless Shakespeare classic will come to life Wednesday night when the SBU Theater program opens its fresh, vibrant production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” directed by theater professor Dr. Ed. Simone. Imaginative sets, colorful costumes, unique props and, of course, fabulous student talent will grace the stage of the Rigas Family Theater at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts Wednesday, March 21, through Saturday, March 24, at 7:30 p.m. each night. Admission is $8 for the public; $6 to St. Bonaventure students, faculty and staff; and free to any student one hour prior to each show.
Rebecca Misenheimer, an assistant professor of theater, designed the set, which is primarily a white-on-black theme subtly suggestive of the yin-yang symbol to represent the continuing theme and importance of balance among characters throughout the play.
Junior Emily West, who designed costumes and props for SBU Theater productions “Dracula” in 2010, and “Don’t Dress for Dinner” in 2011, has put her creativity back to work for this production’s thought-provoking costumes.
“Emily designed these costumes with an eye toward making them contemporary enough so that they resonate with the audience, and so that they reflect character, but also talk about the ancestry of the play, and the progression of the play from its origins in the Renaissance and Shakespeare’s inspiration from the old Greek stories, and moving forward to now,” Simone said.
West said she designed the costumes with both the development of Shakespeare’s characters and her background research on mythology and fairy lore in mind. The characters, she said, range along a spectrum of self-control, and each character’s costume reflects that, with the most controlled characters’ costumes representing elements of Greek statues.
The costumes also change with their characters as they develop throughout the play. Several characters’ costumes gain color as they gain knowledge or awareness.
West also designed four puppets- three to represent Titania’s fairies and the fourth as a prop for Titania, herself. The three fairies are operated using wooden dowels controlled from behind by cast members. Their eerily mystical faces are anchored by actual carousel-horse eyes West found online. For the past two years, West has been invited to showcase her work at the prestigious Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.
Dress rehearsals for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” run through Tuesday night, and the show premiers Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Simone, Misenheimer, and the cast and crew will host a “talk-back” following Friday’s show, when they will invite the audience to ask questions and offer comments about their performance.
Members of the cast include: sophomore history major Nicole Albright of Macedon, N.Y.; freshman modern languages major Sarah Baker of Spencerport, N.Y.; sophomore English major Hannah Chesley of Cuba, NY; senior philosophy and pre-legal major and theater minor Corrie Damulis of Burlington Flats, N.Y.; senior English major/theater minor Mike Dlugosz of Orchard Park, N.Y.; freshman undecided arts and sciences major/theater minor Will Foust of Lower Burrell, Pa.; senior English major Terence Hartnett of Cazenovia, N.Y.; sophomore psychology major Brandon Kallen of Brockport, N.Y.; junior philosophy major Brett Keegan of Syracuse, N.Y.; freshman theater and journalism and mass communication major Tori Lanzillo of Victor, N.Y.; sophomore journalism and mass communication major/theater minor Makeda Loney of Brooklyn, N.Y.; sophomore theater and journalism and mass communication major Brooke Perkins of Utica, Ohio; freshman theater major Ledonna Peters of New York, N.Y.; sophomore modern languages major Ian Rogers of Amherst, N.Y.; sophomore sociology major Molly Schaefer of Clay, N.Y.; junior theater major Lizzy Vivino of Rockaway, N.Y.; junior theater major Emily West of Vestal, N.Y.; and junior computer science major Josh Wingerter of Tacoma, Wash.
Members of the crew include: sophomore theater and journalism and mass communication major Freddy Alvarez of Bronx, N.Y.; non-matriculating student Becky Hahn of Olean, N.Y.; junior physics major Mary Harner of Allen, Texas; senior psychology major Hannah Ochocki of Parma, Ohio; sophomore education major Heather Raffan of Brocton, N.Y.; senior political science major Katie Reusch of Depew, N.Y.; and senior sociology major Catherine Turner of Centerville, Mass.
About the University: Inspired for more than 150 years by the Catholic Franciscan values of individual dignity, community inclusiveness, and service, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around the
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