Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
With interest piqued by promises of a twist on the classic play, lovers’ drama, and seductive fairies, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” opened with three showings this weekend.
The play was presented by the Swarthmore College Drama Board, and was directed by Anne Coleman ’09. It was set in Morocco, a choice of location that was reflected in the costumes and set. Both costumes and set were well-made and added to the scenes without distracting the audience from the action.
The play contained many humorous moments. Notably, in the sub-story of Pyramus and Thisbe, Nick Bottom, acted by Chris Klaneicki ’10, mimed a hilariously overdone death scene in which he strangles himself with his own intestines.
The fairies, servants of the Fairy Queen Titania, were adeptly portrayed as otherworldly and sensual, yet childish creatures. Puck, acted by Louis Jargow ’10, was a wild and mischievous character, and it was interesting to see the contrast between his role as a faun and his role as Philostrate, the Duke of Athen’s servant. Attention to detail, such as the tattoos on the fairies, added to the unearthly effect of their behavior and movements.
For the most part, the storyline of the lovers’ quadrangle was presented clearly, however, due to the setup of the audience surrounding three sides of the stage, at times the monologues could not be heard as clearly as possible.
The fight scene between Demetrius, played by Brian Ratcliffe ’11, and Helena, played by Randall Johnston ’09 was interesting to watch and well-choreographed because of its combination of force and violence charged with sexuality.
Alicia Lemke ’09, played the fiery and enticing Fairy Queen, who is tricked into falling in love with Nick Bottom, whose head is transformed into an ass’s. Their interactions and her ensuing seduction were entertaining and brought up the question of illusions versus reality.
The productions of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was performed to full audiences, and the humor and romance thoroughly enjoyed.