Hunting Hills High School students are presenting one of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays this week at the Welikoklad Event Centre downtown.
Shows run Feb. 5th to 7th with curtain at 7 p.m. with a matinee at 1 p.m. on Feb. 7th as well. Tickets are $15 for adults, and $12 for children/students/seniors.
‘Classy Refreshments’ will be available at each public performance and tickets will also be available at the door.
Instructor Bill Jacobsen said A Midsummer Night’s Dream continues to be one of the most produced plays in the world every year.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of the first soap operas with mixed-up lovers and magical transformations and clowns and what-not,” he explains. “And it is flat-out funny. Like so many of Shakespeare’s stories, many of the central characters are teenagers which makes it so accessible to high school students.”
Jacobsen said the creative team has chosen to base much of the imagery in the play around Van Gogh’s painting Starry Night.
“It contains images of trees and buildings and moons and stars and fits the images of the play so well,” he explained. “Because of conflicts in the fairy world of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the land is disjointed – hence our audience will only see the painting in bits and pieces until the end of the play when order is restored and the world is back in sync. And the art work on stage was all student-created.”
The production will feature 51 students in the cast, plus there are 33 technicians working on the show as well. “They range in age from 15 to 19 and Grades 9 to 13. They love the challenge of Shakespeare and, as one said at rehearsal this week, if after five months we are still laughing at this stuff, it must be pretty funny.”
Jacobsen has guided his young artists through many outstanding productions in the past, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream looks to be another finely-crafted show. Watching the students not only enjoy the process but grow in their skills is a constant inspiration.
“Shakespeare is fun and the challenge is inspiring but, as with most high school work, it is the growth of the students over the course of the process that is the most rewarding,” he said. “There are students in this cast and crew who are dealing with so much in their lives and families and yet, for a few hours each week, they have poured their hearts and souls into this challenging work and gained insight and confidence and support and they have grown so much as a result.
“For many of these students, the arts provide an outlet but also a purpose and a means of expressing themselves that is vital to their health and their soul.
“The themes of A Midsummer Night’s Dream are timeless – the importance of love but the ability of love to blind us. The need for friendship and the importance of our relationship with the world of nature.”
Meanwhile, Jacobsen is confident the magic of Shakespeare’s compelling and delightful tale will leave audiences more aware of the talents of the City’s youth.
“I hope in seeing the projects that students are sharing on their off-nights that they will see how talented and idealistic and creative these young people are and that they deserve our respect and support,” he said. “I am so pleased that Hunting Hills continues to support the arts and that the arts continue to thrive at the school.”