Drama Modernizes Shakespeare in Fall Play


Evon Hung, Asst. Web Editor

The Drama department brings Shakespeare to Woodstock.

Returning with its annual fall play, the school’s drama department will present Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with a Woodstock twist, opening Oct. 17.

Set in 1969, the play’s magical woodland framework, originally set in the 16th century, is turned into a 1960s urban backdrop; a club in New York City’s Times Square serves as a location along with Woodstock, the historical 1969 music and arts festival, representing the woods.

The plot revolves around the interactions, relationships, and power struggles between characters. A hierarchy of four social groups coexist with intertwining conflicts. The wide range of characters includes an authoritative duke to lower class mechanics to faeries who dominate everything – and everyone in between. The lead of the production includes sophomores Chloe Reyes and Rylie Mahorter, junior Jonah Martinez, and senior Katarina Avalos.

“With something like Shakespeare that’s 400 years old, there’s more latitude to reimagine it. It’s a bit of weaving in things of those eras that are in common with the themes in Shakespeare. The concept has to shape the story and I think it does that,” drama teacher Beatrice Casagran said.

In addition to a modern theme, the play also incorporates choreography and music in order to fully maximize the Shakespeare experience. Differing from previous fall plays, this is the first to include other elements of performing arts. Dance teacher Janna Van Horn, as well as members from the dance team will choreograph and be part of the play.

Though the entire play is altered to the 60’s theme, the script remains unchanged. Shakespearean original language will be delivered verbatim, although it has been stripped down to the bare essentials for a more fluid plotline.

“Because it’s Shakespeare, it actually takes twice the effort to memorize it, but we’re having a lot of fun doing it,” Avalos said.

The production is purely student-run by Advanced Drama, such as handling business, designing the process, and acting.

“This is the first time we’ve [had students run it] without systems in place and just bringing all different elements together for the play, from my standpoint, is the most difficult part,” Casagran said.

Tickets will be sold at the door at $11 for students and $13 for adults. The play will take place on October 17 to 19 and 24 –to 25, starting at 7 p.m.

“I think that Shakespeare told well can be really accessible and be extremely moving or funny. One of my passions is to present Shakespeare in a way so that everyone can enjoy it.” Casagran said.