Students in Kent Burnham’s Advanced Acting class will perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare on May 8 and 9 at 7 p.m. in the Tisch Family Auditorium of the Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center. As of May 29, the May 9 performance is SOLD OUT. A limited number of seats remain for May 8. Advance registration is required.
This is the second spring Shakespeare project Burnham has directed with students from his theatre classes at Gunn. Last spring, students in his Drama I: Theatre in Practice class performed an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
“We have focused on the accessibility, joy, and connection to language written over 450 years ago. My goal is to demystify the language of Shakespeare, shed light on the fun at the heart of many Shakespeare plays, and empower the students to discover, grasp, and embrace their connection to these fantastic characters and language,” said Burnham, who earned his MFA in classical acting from The Shakespeare Theatre/Academy for Classical Acting in Washington, D.C.,
Seven actors will portray the 19 characters in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They are: Shannon McCormack ‘25 (Demetrius/Flute/Fairy), Sofia Panzer ‘25 (Titania/Hermia/Snout), Audrey Richards ’23 (Oberon/Lysander/Starveling), Kate Richards ’25 (Egeus/Bottom), Neda Strelciunaite ‘24 (Hippolyta/Helena/Snug), Siena Taylor ‘23 (Theseus/Peter Quince/Fairy), and Jo Wimler ‘24 (Puck/Philostrate).
The production also includes Joshua Ly ‘23, Lighting Designer, Al Chiappetta, Set Designer, and Sarah Fay, Music Director.
“The cast is performing this play in a Black Box theatre-style because it allows the audience to share the stage with the actors and for the actors to interact with the audience. The actors see you, you see them, and we can enjoy exploring that connection created in close proximity,” Burnham said. “Performed in a thrust-style configuration, (audience on three sides), the audience is integral to the storytelling. Shakespeare loved having the characters talk directly to the audience, and in doing so, it smashes that fourth wall so often employed in theatre.”