This past Wednesday, the Aquila Theatre productions brought Shakespeare’s "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" to life at the Bettersworth Auditorium in Lee Hall as part of the Lyceum Series.
As soon as the audience walked in, there was an immediate old, traditional feeling in the auditorium. This, of course, was exactly the play’s intentions. The music was classical. The amount of people talking before the play began meant I had to strain to hear the music, so while it was beautiful, it was hardly even audible.
The lights were beautiful, and they highlighted what would become the backdrop of the play in an elegant way. The setting, a forest, was presented in an amazing artistic show, as the trees seemed to come out of the faux wall that was the background.
The play began with quite possibly the best introduction ever. Of course, every play or movie has some sort of sign, recording or commercial telling everyone to turn their phones on silent, or better yet, turn them off. This play, however, used one of the most amusing and alarming voices I have ever heard to instruct this. Automatically, I was smiling and looking forward to the actual acting.
Let me inform you that I have never seen nor read "A Midsummer Night’s Dream." I knew the general idea of the play, but that did make it a bit confusing when every actor was naturally playing roughly three roles. I quickly saw the most impressive actors, and the most interesting realm of the story.
All of these actors did an incredible job with this play. Still, actress Andrea Bellamore, who portrayed both Titanya and Hippolyta, was probably the most impressive, particularly when playing the fairy Titanya. Her emotions were constantly spot on, and the amount of feeling she conveyed was effective and remarkable.
However, even Bellamore’s lovely acting could not save the real-world portion of the play. For readers unfamiliar with these three different parts, the play is based in the real world, but there are playwrights also writing about their play to be performed in the real world, and there’s also an entirely different realm where fairies exist and mischievously play Cupid.
These actors overall were talented, and it was obvious they worked hard for this performance.
"Their ability to actually conceptualize theatre and present it in a very real format makes you feel like you were there when it was written," said Brad Hill, assistant director for student activities at MSU.
He also added, "The story really comes alive," which held true in the performance.
This production was supposed to be a comedy, and while in ancient theatre comedy only implied a happy ending, in 2019, it requires the audience to laugh. This being said, I am not entirely sure how amusing the original script was, but there were definitely some changes made in this play that made the audience laugh.
Still, my least favorite part of the play was when the actors portrayed characters in the real world, whether it was a wedding play or writing said play. Overall, the most captivating performances were all done by each cast member, either as a fairy or by falling into a messy, complicated love triangle.
Those are the scenes with the most emotion portrayed, the best success and the most interesting stories. However, some would probably argue the very last scene was entertaining enough, which it most certainly was. Despite being in the real world and having a less interesting plot-line, the actors pulled it off, making the entire audience laugh at several instances in this scene.
While this live play was a one-time-only chance, there are more Aquila Theatre productions coming up. If you are a student who would be interested in going and seeing more productions similar to this, "recommendations (are) given to a performing arts committee on campus. That committee takes into account the budget and the availability of the artist to put together the season for each year," Hill said.
Overall, I do not regret seeing this production. With tons of talent, the people involved successfully caught their audience up in the play.