Sparkling ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’’ exhibits T. C. Williams’s talented performers, tech, superb student-directed performance

February 19

All reviews are written by Cappies student critics and edited by Cappies adult mentors prior to publishing.

Stuart Pratuch, a student at West Springfield High School , reviews T. C. Williams’ School’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ as part of the Cappies Critics and Awards Program.

Who do you blame when a simple instruction goes horribly yet hilariously awry? The clueless fairy carrying out the plan? The fairy king who requested revenge on his nagging wife? The nagging wife? Or Shakespeare? Let's just blame Shakespeare. His comedies always work out anyhow as exquisitely explained in TC Williams High School's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

William Shakespeare supposedly wrote A Midsummer Night's Dream during the period of 1590-1596. The first ever performance of the show was January 1, 1605. This mischievous play follows the events surrounding the Duke of Athens, Theseus, and his wife, Hippolyta; four Athenian youths caught in a bizarre love quadrilateral; a manipulative fairy court; and a bunch of rogue actors displaying a play of Pyramus and Thisbe. Quite a conundrum of plots to resolve in a little over two and a half hours! Yet it was wonderfully explored and finished by TC Williams.

The main actors all illustrated a variety of characters through their commitment. Eliza Malakoff's Puck maintained a phenomenal physicality; wistfully and unknowingly conjuring fairy mayhem wherever she pranced. Meanwhile, her queen, Titania (portrayed by Leia Moran), superbly combined such a cocktail of energy that no moment was easily forgotten when she commanded the stage. Meanwhile, the four lovers strived their best, especially Stephanie Slaven-Ruffing's Hermia who interestingly seemed to put a modern understanding on this centuries-old play.

Not to be forgotten are some of the ensemble members who performed vivaciously, much to the pleasure of the audience. Nick Bottom performed by Sam Hanoura remained adorably full of himself through his great physicality and formation of character. He played remarkably well off of the other Rude Mechanicals who brought back up the energy near the end of the second act with their short Pyramus and Thisbe skit that left the audience wanting more of their charisma and characterization. An impressive feat to have such high levels of chemistry amongst so many actors.

Furthermore, some technical aspects really stole the show. The set fully utilized all parts of the vast stage, notably the fairy forest where twinkling lights gleamed whenever a fairy danced through the woods. The lighting flowed smoothly with great ease, gradually shifting through transitions without audience awareness. The costumes, despite some fitting flaws, demonstrated realism and freely flowed down the bodies of the ever active actors. Finally, the fantastic student directing of Isabel Hollins conjured some interesting moments especially when Demetrius (Peter Eckel) and Lysander (Ian McClary) vied for Helena (Rebecca Frank) whose phenomenal commitment added to the ridiculousness of the play.

Overall, despite the weather, TC Williams High School buckled down, took action, and brought to us in this winter of discontent, a summery tale to warm our hearts with love, fairies, and Shakespeare.

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