Venture into the woods

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By Special to the Monitor

“A Mid Winter Night’s Dream, or The Night They Missed the Forest for the Trees,” by Nancy Linehan Charles, an abbreviated version of a familiar Shakespeare comedy, will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Duane Smith Auditorium.

Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children age 12 and younger and seniors age 60 and older. Tickets are available at the door and from cast members.

All actors in “Mid Winter” are members of Starstruck Youth Theatre, a performance group facilitated by Los Alamos County Recreation Services.

Led by instructors Melissa Balice and Julia Fair, Starstruck has been working on the production of “A Mid Winter Night’s Dream” since September. The actors are an ensemble group in which each actor plays multiple, equally important roles. For this Shakespeare production, many assume both male and female parts.

Balice and Fair thought a contemporary version of a magical Shakespeare play would be just the thing for Starstruck’s December performance. The play takes place in a middle school classroom where a group of students are studying the play for an exam. As they act out Shakespeare’s characters, the lines and actions are narrated and explicated by a fellow student.

Balice says “Shakespeare is meant to be spoken aloud, not read in silence. Working with both the traditional Shakespeare version and the modern English version gives the actors an opportunity to develop their speech, rhythm, diction and comprehension.”

Back for their third show are Chance Butler, Charlie Hermann, Victoria Hughes and Daniel Sarrao. Chance Butler as Puck displays his hip-hop and singing skills during the play. Victoria Hughes is the director of the Pyramus and Thisbe play as well as the “fair” Helena. Sarrao, who was the Hobbit in Starstruck’s previous show, is now the love -struck yet fickle Lysander. Charlie Hermann has taken on another challenging role, this time being the poetic Oberon. Kate Marjevicius and her brother George are new cast members, as well as Morgan Apperson and Adelle Mitchell. All are in the forest looking for their true love. Winter becomes a “Season of Love.”

Balice’s UNM-Los Alamos Then With Now Dancers, YMCA Hip Hop and TapKidz, along with Fair’s Los Alamos Swing Dancing Club round out the program to create an entertaining family drama and dance show.