Q. Why did you choose "A Midsummer Night's Dream" as your fall play?
Jennifer Steljes. I chose this play because I have not yet had the chance to direct Shakespeare at Hampshire, and I thought it would be great to start with a comedy that many of our students read as sophomores.
Q. Briefly summarize the plot.
Steljes. The plot is a bit complicated, but basically this is a love story. Sometimes unrequited love, but in the end, all of the characters end up with who they "should" end up with.
Q. What have been some of the challenges in putting together this production?
Steljes. One of the great challenges has been approaching a text which is as challenging as Shakespeare. As a modern audience, we essentially had to "translate" the text to make sure we understood what was happening. We then had to make sure we could transfer this understanding into a performance that a modern audience would comprehend and even identify with.
Since day one I have stressed to the students that if they didn't understand the text, there's no way an audience would understand. We have spent a lot of time and effort on comprehension, and that has led us to really be able to develop characters. Additionally, there are several students who have not done a play before, so for them to start with Shakespeare was quite a challenging task.
Q. What do you think the audience will like best about this show?
Steljes. Fairies, lovers and a donkey. Also, I think the audience will like the comedy in this show best. Although the language is not language that we use on a regular basis, or maybe not even language we have heard before, there are certain elements of comedy and human nature that absolutely carry through the language and the many hundreds of years which have passed since this play was written.
If you go: "A Midsummer Night's Dream" will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8-9, at the Hampshire High School auditorium, 1600 Big Timber Road. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. Call (847) 792-3500.