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Shakespeare in the Park
MVHS theater arts students rehearse A Midsummer’s Night Dream in the open air venue where the play will be performed on May 23-24. Sophmore Random Gurney stands over senior Lexi Fryover and sophomore Tucker Phelps as senior Alex Fage looks on.
RUMFORD -- This time of year, teachers frequently hear, “it’s too hot, can we have class outside?” Many teachers have to balance creature comfort with covering the curriculum.
Mountain Valley High School Theater Arts teacher Natalie Simmons saw it as an opportunity. When her theater arts class begged to get out of the auditorium and into the warm sunlight, she listened. The change in venue for that class caused a flurry of creativity.
Why not perform the play outside? That question led to MVHS’s first “Shakespeare in the Park” style production. The theater arts class will perform A Midsummer’s Night Dream in the Senior Garden beside the school May 23-24 at 6 p.m.
Simmons explained, “We’ll set up chairs outside but we also encourage people to bring lawn chairs and blankets to be comfortable. The students are really excited about stretching their skills to make this happen outside.”
One of Shakespeare’s most commonly performed play, A Midsummer’s Night Dream is the story of the magical and enchanting events that can happen to lovers in the midst of the summer.
Theater arts students Jenny Gaudet, Mariah Haggan and Carita DeTellis explained the major themes in the play without giving too much away.
Gaudet began, “It’s about two couples. The girl in one couple has a father who doesn’t want them to be together so they plan to run away. Many teens can relate to this theme.”
“The theater troop is putting on a play for the wedding day,” Haggan explained the next theme. “They are the comedic relief.”
Finally, the third theme is about the fairy king and queen who are fighting. “The queen is keeping a child for another woman. The king thinks it belongs to queen but was fathered by another man,” DeTellis said.
The students have many ideas about why people should see their performance. One is the hard work they have put into the production.
Sophomore Shelby Roberts observed, “It was written in Old English so it’s confusing. You have to figure it out in your head before you can learn the lines. But it’s worth it!”
“We’ve been working on this since October,” sophomore Angela O’Leary explained. “We put a lot of work into it studying the scenes. This is the capstone project for the entire year. I take a lot of pride in going on stage.”
Another idea to promote the play is about its genre. Gaudet, a senior, said, “It’s a good romance -- a sweet story of love that is meant to be and the trials people go through to make that happen.”
Finally, who couldn’t use a night of entertainment? Haggan added, “It’s a great way to have a night out. Have fun and feel cultured!”
Whatever the motivation, audience members are in for a treat!