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Dreaming of Midsummer Nights

Story:The Dr. Kearney Middle School musical theatre class is dreaming of midsummer tonight, as they bring their unique rendition of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream to the stage.

Story:The Dr. Kearney Middle School musical theatre class is dreaming of midsummer tonight, as they bring their unique rendition of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream to the stage.

Musical Theatre teacher Liza Rhymer worked modern song and dance numbers into the old English language play.

"This group that I've got here, I knew they were quite strong and a lot of really serious - I mean they're Grade 9 - but there's a lot of them who are really interested in having a career [in acting], so that's why I chose A Midsummer Night's Dream," she said.

Rhymer cut out a portion of the play's dialogue, partially due to the difficulty of the material, but also to cut down on the running time that the songs and dances add to the performance.

"We probably cut down on an hour's worth of dialogue and, even with all that cut, dialogue it's still challenging - but they're doing it," she said.

None of the students have any experience with the material, which Rhymer said is impressive on its own.

A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of William Shakespeare's comedies, and

the Dr. Kearney students open the play with their rendition of 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' before launching into the opening scene, where Theseus and Hippolyta discuss their upcoming wedding and deal with the love quadrangle of Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius and Helena, rounding out the first subplot of the play.

Lysander and Demetrius are portrayed by Trystan Macleod and Mason Temple, both of whom jumped at the chance to be the male leads.

"It's quite fun, I enjoy learning all the dances and stuff," said Macleod.

"All the jumping over and sliding underneath, that's painful," said Temple, of their three dance routines.

The second subplot features a group of labourers turned thespians, The Mechanicals, who have been tasked with performing a play during Theseus and Hippolyta's wedding reception.

Things don't go quite according to plan.

The third subplot involves the marital strife of the King and Queen of the Fairies, Oberon and Titania. Through magic and misunderstanding, the other characters in the play get wrapped up in the fairies' squabbling.

"As soon as I read Titania's part, I really wanted it," said Stacey Hasen. "I tried super hard and I got it."

Blaze Sura, who plays Oberon, looked forward to putting his acting skills to good use as the Fairy King.

"It feels funny, but I like it. It's quite enjoyable actually. As soon as I heard 'King of the Fairies' I said 'I'm good enough for this'."

The creature behind all the mix-ups and shenanigans is Oberon's go-to fairy, Puck, who is played by Aaron Duke.

"Personally, I wanted to be Bottom," said Duke. "But then I figured out that Puck was really fun, so I decided I wanted to stay as Puck."

Both Sura and Duke have been told numerous times that, since they act out so much, they ought to try being actors.

"So we are," said Sura.

Other modern songs in the show include 'Take A Chance On Me', 'Bad Reputation', 'Wild Thing' and a little twist on 'Single Ladies', with many more.

Rhymer said she'd like to try doing this particular project again in the future.

"I like to put on a variety of plays, and Shakespeare is important. I mean, we study it in school but it really doesn't make sense reading it on the page. It almost has to be acted or semi-performed to be understood," she said.

A Midsummer Night's Dream opens tonight, Jan. 13, and also runs on Jan. 14 and 15 at the North Peace Cultural Centre.