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Olions put on a humorous night of Shakespeare

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By Michael Booton/Teen Pulse staff

Last weekend, the Olions Thespian Club, an after-school drama organization at Los Alamos High School, performed Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Hermia (Rosemary Vigil), her lover Lysander (Eben Bold) and Demetrius (Jack Barkley), the man her father, Egeus (Xander Mancino), wishes her to marry, are brought to the court of Theseus (Devon McCleskey), the duke of Athens, as he prepares to wed Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons. Hermia and Lysander make plans to escape Athens after her father asks that she be either sent to a convent or killed.
Demetrius follows them after learning of their plans from Helena (Monica Clarke), who told him in an attempt to gain his love.
In the forest, Oberon (Devon McCleskey), the fairy king, and his queen, Titania (Morgan Ferry), quarrel over a servant of Titania’s. Seeking revenge, Oberon sends his servant Puck (Kate Margevicius) to cause Demetrius to fall in love with the first thing that he sees after waking. Puck mistakenly makes both Demetrius and Lysander fall in love with Helena, causing them to fight over her.
Meanwhile, Oberon causes Titania to fall in love with Bottom (Charlie Herrmann), part of a group of Athenian craftsmen, whom Puck had caused to have a donkey’s head. Helena feels mocked by the affections of the two men and blames Hermia. Oberon removes Titania’s infatuation with Bottom, whose head is returned to its normal shape. After all had been put to sleep, Oberon and Puck cause them to all remember it as a dream.
Returning to Athens with Oberon and Titania, the four lovers make their amends, content to be paired as Lysander with Hermia and Demetrius with Helena.
The duke invites them to the wedding celebration, where the Athenian craftsmen perform a short play. Finally, Puck asks the audience to remember the play as a dream.
Featuring a cast of varied talent, the play was hindered at first by a lack of impression needed by Shakespeare’s large vocabulary to understand.
As the play progressed, the characterization and individuality of the actors became clear, making it increasingly more enjoyable and entertaining. These characteristics of the actors were accentuated by the visual style of “Steampunk” that was used. Lending itself easily to customization, the Victorian style allowed entire sets to be unique but consistent in appearance. The actors themselves struck impressive figures in the Victorian styles with many-colored hair and skin.
Although the actors are actively developing skills, many showed a surprising mastery and understanding of Shakespearean style in their interpretation of their characters.
The play was specifically chosen to give the club the widest variety of experience and accessibility, from both a stage management and an acting standpoint.
Featuring not only Shakespeare’s signature iambic pentameter, it contained many prose parts and a wide variety of costumes, scenes and characters so that everyone could enjoy their role.
This wider range of interests and its attribution to Shakespeare, which is coveted on a budding actor’s portfolio, made it preferable to the recent tradition of a musical for the club’s spring performance.
A short talk with the cast reveals immediately that each member is in love with their part and the play, a crucial part of any performance. Expressing the sentiments of the entire cast, Rosemary Vigil said, “We love what we do, and we do it for you.”