Shakespeare Meets Malvern Prep: A Fall Preview

Anthony Abron

As the cast list goes up, the cast and crew of the Malvern Theatre Society are ready for the daunting challenges of performing Shakespeare’s famous play A Midsummer’s Night Dream. You can hear the buzz within the theatre department because it is not every day that high school students get to do Shakespeare. Many members of the cast and crew cannot wait until rehearsals start so they can be a part of a timeless classic. They look forward to November so they can perform it for hundreds of people and start off the fall season of Malvern Theatre Society with a bang.

A Midsummer’s Night Dream is so popular, it has been made into films, an opera, a ballet, and of course, it started out as a play. The plot of this play centers around three different types of characters. The first story unfolds as Hermia is told she has to marry Demetrius; however, she is in love with Lysander. Hermia’s father, Egeus, asks Thesus, Duke of Athens, to make her comply. Since Thesus himself is getting ready to get married to Hippolyta who is queen of the Amazons, he warns Hermia that she has until the day of his wedding to decide. If Hermia doesn’t get married, either she will be executed or she will have to be a nun. Hermia and her love, Lysander, plan that night to flee into the woods and get married at the house of Lysander’s aunt. Before Hermia leaves, she tells her friend Helena of the plan. Helena used to be engaged to Demetrius and she still loves him. Helena tells Demetrius and both of them follow Lysander and Hermia into the woods that evening.

The second story of this play centers on fairies that are in the same woods that the four previous characters are fleeing into. Oberon, the fairy king, and Titania, the fairy queen, are having an argument over a prince that they have acquired from the royalty of India. Oberon tells Puck, his servant, to find a flower that would make someone fall in love with the first person him or her would see. Puck is told to spray it over Demetrius by Oberon because Oberon has seen Demetrius being mean to Helena. Puck screws it up because he sees Lysander and thinks that Lysander is Demetrius and gives the potion of the flower to Lysander. The first person Lysander sees is Helena and falls madly in love with her. Puck realizing his mistake confuses everyone by mimicking their voices.

The next characters that the play crosses paths with are a bunch of Athenians who are in the woods preparing to perform for Thesus and Hippolyta’s wedding . The story comes to them because Puck also gives Titania the potion from the flower. The first person Titania sees is a member of the Athenians in the woods whose name is Bottom. Before Titania sees Bottom, Puck turns Bottom’s head into that of a donkey. The play enters its final stages when Puck restores balance. Demetrius loves Helena. Lysander loves Hermia. Thesus and Hippolyta get married. The Athenian actors do their play at the wedding. The last person in most editions to have lines on stage before the show is over is Puck.

Some reactions about the show by members of the cast include:

Carly Aquino,  junior at Villa Maria Academy, says she is “excited” by the show.

“I’m very excited to be Hermia and to be able to work with some of the new MTS members! I’m also really interested to see how Mr. Fry modernizes the show to make it more relatable to the audience.”

-Courtney Olenzak, senior at Villa Maria Academy

“The show is a great one, but a very difficult one. We can pull it off, but it will take a lot of work.”

-Matt Anthony, junior at Malvern Prep

“I’m excited about it [A Midsummer’s Night Dream] because it’s a chance to be a part of something that made theatre what it is today. I get to become Demetrius in my favorite Shakespeare show.”

-Joe Canuso, junior at Malvern Prep

Members of Malvern Preparatory School as well as the community can see A Midsummer’s Night Dreamin its entirety in Malvern’s state-of-the-art Duffy Center this November.

Read more by Max McClatchy