Local audiences can enjoy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” amid autumn’s chill Nov. 9-12 when MTSU Theatre students and Nashville Shakespeare Festival professionals transform their first-time alliance into splendid — and high-fashion — comedy.
The cast features 20 students and four pros: MTSU professor Kyle Kennedy, the Department of Theatre and Dance’s head of acting, as the disciplinarian father Egeus; Shakespeare Festival artistic director and longtime Nashville favorite Denice Hicks as the glamorous fairy queen Titania; acclaimed Nashville actor Brian Russell as Oberon, king of the fairies; and Nashville actor Justin Hand as the comedic Bottom.
The student cast includes Parker Chase, Alexa Pulley, Lakryslin Williams, Chris Anderson, Connor McCabe, Devin Bowles, Cailyn Hurley, Blake Holliday, John Carter, Jay Mullens, Aaron Johnson, Gabriel Matos, JR Knowles, Lauren Hawkins, Ren Creasy, Meredith Aydelott, Mallory Gonyea, Kaitlin Newcomb, Chance Rule and Matthew Phillips.
A complete cast and crew listing is available here.
Curtain times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 9-11, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12. Advance tickets, available at www.mtsuarts.com, are $10 general admission and $5 for K-12 students and senior citizens 55 and older. MTSU students will be admitted free with current IDs.
The production also includes 10 a.m. matinee performances Nov. 8-10 for local school groups. School leaders can contact the Festival’s Morgan Davis for tickets at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-255-2273.
“Audiences should expect a fast-paced, fun and incredibly colorful production,” says director and MTSU adjunct professor Santiago Sosa, who serves as artistic associate/apprentice company director for the Nashville Shakespeare Festival.
“In creating our own world, we created our own rules which puts no limitations on the creative team. NSF is always looking to entertain and educate in every way we can throughout Middle Tennessee, and this is just another one of those great opportunities.”
In a glittery nutshell, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” first published in 1600 and performed in Queen Elizabeth I’s court in 1605, links four interconnecting plots with the upcoming wedding of the Athenian duke Theseus and the Amazonian queen Hippolyta.
The plots include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors, the “rude mechanicals,” who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies that inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set.
Sosa’s concept sets Shakespeare’s popular comedy in an imagined Athenian world inspired by high fashion. It features a magical soundscape by Nashville composer Natalie Bell and costume design, set design and lighting by MTSU theater professors Tommy Macon, Scott Boyd and Darren Levin, respectively.
“The world we have all collaborated to build is so unique,” Sosa says. “These students are hard workers. They amaze me every day. They are smart and enthusiastic. They NEVER complain. They are hungry for more and encourage and inspire me with their discipline and generous spirit. They all gel so well, and in a large cast like this, that can sometimes be rare. They continue to affirm why I do theatre, especially Shakespearean work.”
Sosa first proposed the partnership between MTSU and the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, which has seen many MTSU students on its stages and in its crews in its near 30-year history, to theatre and dance chair Jeff Gibson two years ago.
“NSF, as a company, enjoys teaching, growing, and mentoring young artists with Shakespeare,” Sosa says. “It’s such a wonderful gift to be able to create with MTSU and share in their creative spirit.
“Shakespeare is for everyone, and being able to reach out a little further outside of Nashville is important to us.”
Tickets also will be available at the Tucker Theatre box office one hour before curtain times. For more information about the show, visit www.mtsuarts.com. For more information on the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, visit www.nashvilleshakes.org.
— Gina E. Fann (email@example.com)