Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre prepares “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for a summer audience

Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 5:52 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Every year, Jack Townshend Point on the University of Alaska’s Troth Yeddha campus sees a play by William Shakespeare brought to life.

These plays range from the bard’s famous tragedies to this year’s light comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Plotlines involving love potions, fairies, transfiguration and a play within a play interweave throughout the work.

On the choice of play, Director Carey Seward explained, “I just thought it would be really fun to have a beautiful, flowery, summery play after all this bummer of a couple of years.”

The outdoor performance venue mirrors the play’s action, which is set in the woods. “Oftentimes, we’re introduced to Shakespeare when we’re in high school and we couldn’t care less and it’s old and it’s moldy and it’s not actually done on its feet. Shakespeare is meant to be played and seen,” said actor AnnaKate Williams, who plays Helena.

According to Seward, the play involves a lot of ensemble work. “None of the roles are enormous like Hamlet or King Lear.”

Although Romeo and Juliet enjoys popularity in the U.S., internationally, “‘Midsummer’ is by far the most popular, and pretty much always has been over the past 400 years,” according to Seward.

The set is designed to bring the play’s magic-filled world to life. “The set. all donated flowers by local greenhouses, has just been flowering and blossoming the whole time,” Seward said.

For the actors, performing Shakespeare’s text carries its own challenges when compared to a modern play. Williams explained, “I have to figure out what I’m saying, in the beginning, because it’s not always apparent. I also need to look up words that I don’t know.”

Ezra Adasiak, who play’s Lysander, agreed saying, “I think that also makes it a richer experience because you’re actually taking that time to understand the meaning and the context behind what you’re saying.”

Over months of rehearsal, the play evolves from script to stage. Adasiak said, “I love getting to see a scene go from absolutely nothing to something that’s pretty cohesive and good.”

For these outdoor productions, the show will go on, rain or shine. Adasiak continued, “I have performed through shows where it has been raining so hard that we had to pause the show because it was raining that hard. So we’re committed. We’re going to be here.”

The play opens July 14 and runs Thursday through Sunday for three weeks.

More information can be found here.

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