The School Newspaper for California High School, San Ramon CA

The Californian

A Very ’70s Midsummer Nights Dream

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By Jen Hight
Online Editor

Although it’s no longer midsummer for Billy Shakes the super-bard, his dream still lives on at Cal High in Laura Wood’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” circa the 1970s.

The production was just what the drama program needed to kick off the school year this week. William Shakespeare’s classic comedy was transformed from into a disco music pumping, faerie dancing, ’70s performance complete with a disco ball and pet rocks. Bell-bottoms and peace signs are the clothes to wear this midsummer night, while crazy makeup covers the performers faces while they dance the night away.

The atmosphere of the show is very similar to “That ’70s Show,” a controlled level of insanity that leaves the audience laughing all night. What seems like a small cast of four to five actors per scene is actually a cast of 31 actors that cover the stage for the final dance number.

The characterization was strong, and the actors never broke character to laugh or respond to the audience, which was in full hysterics throughout the performance.

One of the most amazing parts of the show is when the first scene change happens. The disco ball is lit up, all the faeries come out to dance, and the audience enters a forest. The tech crew move out an entirely new set that covers old one, and trees fall from the sky. Glow in the dark paint lights up the entire stage, casting an eerie glow on the stage.

Junior Jonathon Akkawi as Oberon and senior Brody Hoops as Puck steal the show with their outstanding performances. They worked the audience well, and had a unique chemistry that none of the other actors could create.

In the play within a play, freshman Bryce Woodward as Thisbe was the star. In his sequined skirt and pumps, the actor delivered the lines in a falsetto voice that left the audience howling with laughter.

Another fun aspect of the show is the tech crew wears different themed make-up per night. Wednesday was a make-up free for all, Thursday was a super-hero theme, and for tonight’s performance the tech crew is planning on coming to the show sporting Transformer makeup.

Despite the show’s strengths, there were a few problems with Wednesday’s performance, which is expected on any opening night. Lines were forgotten and there were long awkward pauses at some of the dance and acting scenes where the actors didn’t know what to do.

The most noticeable mistake came during a scene change in the first act. One of the trees became tangled and was not usable during the scene. These issues were worked out for Thursday’s performance.

The cast’s greatest strength was to soldier on no matter what. The tech crew pulled the tree back up, and the show continued without seeming to miss a beat.

The only real warning I can give about the show is to not sit near the spotlights. The spotlights are loud and cover up some of the actors’ lines.

Another warning is not to leave any hands of feet in the stairwells. The actors dance down to the stage from the lobby, and unexpected appendages in the aisles could lead to an actor tripping and hurting themselves.

All in all, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was an incredible high school production. I strongly recommend seeing the show. It’s worth every dollar spent on the ticket.

The final performance of the play will be tonight at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 with ASB, $10 without ASB and $5 for kids of middle-school age and younger.

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The School Newspaper for California High School, San Ramon CA
A Very ’70s Midsummer Nights Dream