When four young lovers go into the woods on a midsummer evening in Shakespeare's shimmering fantasy play, strange and wonderful things begin to happen. King and queen of the fairies, Oberon and Titania, and the impish Puck create chaos in the moon-drenched night. But what fun to join in the dream, knowing that by daylight all will be well.
Ashland High School weaves music, movement and dance into The Bard's magical tale of young lovers and supernatural creatures. Look for aerialists from circus academy Le Cirque playing Elizabethan court performers on the AHS stage.
The show previews at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3, and other performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 4-5, and Thursday through Saturday, March 10-12. Matinees are set for 2 p.m. Sundays, March 6 and 13.
Preview tickets cost $7. Reserved seating is $15 and general seating is $10, $7 for seniors and students. Tickets can be purchased online at showtix4u.com, by calling 866-967-8167, at Paddington Station, Tree House Books and Music Coop. Call 541-482-8771 for information.
Jessica Sage directs a cast and crew of more than 50 students in the production, with Barry Kraft as Shakespeare advisor.
"Kraft plays a key role in this production," Sage says. "He is a walking Shakespeare encyclopedia, and actors are eager to learn from him. His commitment to the rhythm of the language, the text, diction and the meaning of the words raises the bar across the board."
Kraft has 28 seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to his credit and has acted in 85 full productions of Shakespeare's 38 plays. He is dramaturg for OSF's 2016 production of "Richard II" and was dramaturg for OSF's 2015 "Antony and Cleopatra" and nearly 50 other productions of Shakespeare's work.
Featured players include Amelia Sorensen as Helena; Nur Shelton as Demetrius; Jonathan Connolly as Lysander; Tessa Buckley as Hermia; Mckenzie Baratta as Puck; Michael Burt as Bottom; Vincent Wright as Oberon; Zoe Lishinsky as Titania; Kate Jaques-Prentice as Hippolyta; and Dylan Kistler as Theseus. The ensemble includes Nicky Clary, Emma Durbin, Ari Albertson, Alex Welden, Christine Impara, Corrine Maddox, Isaiah Brown, Rain Haywood, Tayva Nyce, Korrin Kenerly, Julia Tobrock, Brook Hall, Charlie Burr, Ava Hearn, Eliza Strong and Madison Fung.
"It’s encouraging to see the actors grapple with the language, style and fluidity of the play," Sage says. "In Ashland, where Shakespeare reigns supreme, many students value the depth and beauty of the text, and some already have their eyes on the OSF prize.
"The drama program at Ashland High School trains students for professions in theater arts," she says. "Not just as actors. Students are taught how to operate light boards, program sound cues, build sets and be stage managers. With OSF in their front yard, they see how this can lead to actual jobs."
The professional creative team features Sandy Phillip as set designer, David Pedersen as carpenter and technical director, Bart Grady as lighting designer, Laua Dana as costume designer and Amirah Karolynne as choreographer.
Students on the team include Ceili Widmann as stage manager, Kacey Ottenbacher and Nellie Strong as assistant stage managers, and Emma Durbin as sound designer.