Students and staff mastered both the language of Shakespeare and the lingo of the 1930s for the 2012 Pioneer Performance Series production of playwright Ken Ludwig’s Shakespeare in Hollywood.
Performing Arts Office Director Kristin Baker worked closely with Boston-based director Antoine Gagnon in bringing the students performance to the stage of the University’s C. Walsh Theatre.
The show revolves around Shakespeare’s famous fairies, Oberon – played by sophomore Jacob Athyal – and Puck – freshman Corinne Decost – who have magically turned up in 1934 Hollywood. They create mischief on the set of Max Reinhardt’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The cast succeeded in conveying both drama and physical comedy in a performance that had an engaged audience laughing from start to finish.
“I genuinely believe the fun we had in producing this show came through on stage and was evident to our audience,” said Athyal. “The production was both educational and a joy and pleasure to be a part of.”
In a turnaround from Shakespeare’s era, when men played all parts in the theater, the University featured a cast made up mostly of women.
Freshmen Breanna Elizabeth, who played Max Reinhardt, and Dialis Molina, who played both Will Hays and Albert Warner, did a stellar job bringing characters of the opposite sex to life.
Issues of censorship & gender roles
“This play is a very funny comedy, but it does raise a lot of interesting questions about the nature of popular entertainment, censorship, and gender roles in the entertainment industry,” said Baker. “Our cast of students and staff had their work cut out for them with its playful combination of actual Shakespearean dialogue, modern versions of Elizabethan language, and 1930s-era patter.”
“The cast did a really great job,” said student Alexa Burrows, one of many students, parents, faculty, and staff who enjoyed the show. “They all seemed to have great chemistry and really knew how to keep the audience entertained throughout the entire production.”
Corinne DeCost as Puck and Jake Athyal as Oberon
Stephen Mraz as Daryl the Yes Man and Stephanie Yackovetsky as Lydia Lansing
Matthew Eriksen as Dick Powell and Julia Davidovitz as Olivia Darnell