"A Midsummer Night's Dream" by William Shakespeare will be presented by the College of Lake County Theatre department over two weekends: Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 25 at 2 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, March 1, 2, 3 at 7:30 p.m.; plus a high school matinee on Friday, March 2 at 10 a.m. The play will be performed in the Studio Theatre of the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts at the CLC Grayslake Campus.
In the show, a quartet of lovers get wrapped up in a whirlwind of parental disapproval, mistaken identity and an escape to a surreal moonlit forest inhabited by actors and magical fairies, all with unexpected and outrageous results. The four lovers find themselves smack in the middle of a dispute between the King and Queen of the fairies, while a troupe of amateur actors is trying to rehearse a play. Add the mischievous sprite Puck, armed with a potion capable of making anyone fall in love with the first person they set eyes upon, and you have the recipe for this celebrated comic masterpiece.
Brian Gill, a CLC adjunct instructor and full-time theatre faculty member at University of Wisconsin-Parkside, will direct the production. In 2001, he performed in Chicago Shakespeare Theater's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and knows the show very well.
"Most productions I've seen have the tendency to completely ignore the danger that's going on with the characters," Gill said. "This production is not going to be spandex and sparkles. There is a darkness to the play, and that's the reason the comedy works so well. Lysander and Hermia run away because her father said 'Either marry Demetrius, become a nun or be executed.' They run into an ancient forest to escape being killed. They happen upon a brutal civil war between fairy king and fairy queen. So I've never enjoyed productions that try to be cute with it."
Craig Rich, theatre department chair, serves as text coach, teaching students how to engage with and understand the language. Rich directed CLC's last production in 2006 and previously worked for Utah Shakespeare Festival. "It's lots of fun because I've been Craig's text coach several times," Gill said.
"I trained at the Globe Theatre in London, so I love directing Shakespeare and hope to attract audience members who have never seen Shakespeare performed," Gill said. "He is just the most human of humans; he understood every aspect of humanity. He uses language to create all these amazing opportunities to engage our imagination. As we become more disengaged from each
other today, it's but important to go back to revisit the magic of Shakespeare and great plays like 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.'"
Tickets: $12 general public; $10 CLC/Teens/Seniors 65+; $9 School Groups of 10 or more in advance (includes JLC $2 facility fee). There is a special buy one ticket, get one free ticket offer for the Feb. 23 and March 1 performances.
Midsummer Night's Dream cast: Oberon/Theseus: Michael Farca (Lake Villa); Titania/ Hyppolita: Rachael Lester (Libertyville), Puck/ Philostrate: Ben Compton (Winthrop Harbor), Lysander: Oguzhan Ucak (Antioch), Demetrius: Alexander Gray (Zion), Hermia: Sarah Peppler (Wauconda), Helena: Emmalee Berger (Libertyville), Egeus: Juan Hernandez (Round Lake), Snug: Jonathan Rocha (Waukegan), Bottom: Jeff Brain (Antioch), Peter Quince: Sam Kim (Hawthorn Woods), Francis Flute/Cobweb: Alex Poehlman (Grayslake), Tom Snout/Mustardseed: Dylan Thomas (Winthrop Harbor), Robin Starveling/Peaseblossom: Chantal Moody (Round Lake), Faerie/Moth: Alma Salgado (Gurnee).
Production staff: Brian Gill (director) of Grayslake; Kevin Rolfs (set designer) of Chicago, Jeffrey Weiss (lighting and sound designer) of Zion, Sally Gill (costume designer) of Grayslake and Maranda Riley (stage manager) of Island Lake.
The rest of the CLC Theatre season features "Play On! A CLC Theatre Student Showcase," April 13-21; and the summer musical, "Cabaret," July 20-29.