• HCOA hosts ‘Theatre Shakes’ performance Saturday at 7 p.m.
Imagine a single day set aside when hundreds of teens in many schools perform Shakespeare for audiences.
In Homer, that play is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” with the main performance on Saturday. Homer Council on the Arts and Pier One Theatre teamed up for the production, involving 11 students from 10 to 14 years old, under the direction of Brenda Dolma.
“They are in the ‘tween to teen ages and some of them have done theater or musical theater before,” Dolma said. “Three are new thespians.”
The local program is dubbed Theatre Shakes by HCOA-Pier One as a catchy description. It draws from the goals of the Shakespeare Schools Festival: to bring the enchantment of Shakespeare to young people.
By taking the young under-wing, Theatre Shakes is able to introduce the Bard in a gentle abridged script. Yet, not so gentle considering actors must cram 10 scenes into a 30-minute performance.
Summer McGuire, a young actress playing Oberon’s queen and Hippolyta, described the play as a comedy that jumbles two pairs of lovers together.
“They are thrown into risks because they both want something they don’t have,” she said.
Players are grouped as Athenians, Mechanicals or Fairies. Rather than using elaborate costumes and props, symbolic articles such as wings denote fairies, while sashes adorn the Athenians.
The plot portrays the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, and the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta. The adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors unfold as they are controlled and manipulated by the fairies inhabiting the forest.
The play, categorized as a comedy, is one of Shakespeare’s most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.
“It will be familiar to people who know the play,” Dolma said. “We are using a condensed, well-crafted, abridged script performed by young people all over the world.”
The program is a 12-week theater skills program for sixth though 12th graders, in conjunction with the Shakespeare Schools Festival in the United Kingdom.
“They come together all day on the same day in London to perform,” Dolma said. “We performed on that same day, but there have been some thought-changes since we started, and we wanted to keep it going.”
The play, experienced as an actor or as an audience, augments school literature programs related to Shakespeare or an era of history.
On Friday, Fireweed Academy and Homer Middle School students will see live performances of the play from 1-2:30 p.m.
The public performance is 7 p.m. Saturday at the HCOA building on West Pioneer. Admission is $5.
What: A Midsummer’s Night Dream
Where: Homer Council on the Arts
More info: 235-4288
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