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A Midsummer Night’s Dream Sets a Magical Start to the Holiday Season

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The Oxford Ensemble of Shakespearean Artists debuted their first classical play of the year this past Thursday, November 16 at 7:30 PM in the Tarbutton Theater. After many weeks of rehearsals as well as set and costume designing, the cast performed an amazing rendition of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a story known for its magical environment, light-humored plot, and iconic mischievous characters.

“Originally, the executive board decided we were going to do Taming of the Shrew last year,” revealed OESA Director Arden Godfrey. “When we got back to school, after meeting a lot of people interested in Shakespeare and theater, I decided Midsummer would be a better fit.”

Photo Courtesy of: OESA

It certainly gathered much positive reception, given the comments most of their viewers made after the Thursday and Saturday showings, even for those who had already watched or read the show previously.

“It was so funny and beautifully made,” enthused Laura Neff, an Oxford first year who went to see the play on Saturday. “I’ve seen this show thousands of times in middle and high school, and I still couldn’t stop laughing during the funny parts—they’re super talented and couldn’t have done a better job.”

Another factor that helped bring more attention from the student body was the fact that some students were not actually OESA members, but simply normal students who auditioned for the part and were given the part of the character in the play.

“It’s actually a part of our constitution,” explained Godfrey. “[We have] to be very inclusive of anyone interested on working on the show.”

Photo Courtesy of: OESA

The amount of energy and effort that was put into bringing this show into making was a responsibility equally shared by everyone on the cast was an undeniable truth. Ranging from using voice inflections in comedic scenes to checking the nuances in the characters’ costume designs, there was much pressure put on every detailed aspect of the play’s final production.

“I was in charge of setting props like the smoke generator, stood in roles for people who missed rehearsal, and making sure the stage was devoid of anything that wasn’t supposed to be there,” said Assistant Stage Manager Ral Vandenhoudt. “When I wasn’t doing my job, there was always something else I knew could use some extra help.”

Because the script was written in densely worded Shakespearean English, the majority of the actors knew the importance of going to rehearsals and practicing their pieces constantly so as to not omit an important sentence, or stumble over a particular phrase.

Even first year student Jordan Harper, who was casted to play a minor character as well as a literal wall in the play, had written down parts of his dialogue with Sharpie on his inner forearm to keep from messing up on stage.

“It’s hard to keep it all down,” he admitted. “And we don’t have anyone who can replace our roles, so we’ve learned how to handle things if one of us forgets a line or says the wrong one instead.”

Ultimately, the show was deemed a success by both the cast and the audience, and has left students looking forward to the upcoming plays for the spring semester: Sense and Sensibility and The Vagina Monologues.

I was so overwhelmed and incredibly proud of the end production and how hard the cast and crew worked to put it together,” said Godfrey. “Everyone worked hard, and I am glad it came across in the show.”

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The student news site of Oxford College of Emory University
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Sets a Magical Start to the Holiday Season