“Look what fools these mortals be!” Sound familiar?
How about, “Me thought I was enamoured of an ass.”
Still not ringing a bell? Maybe your Shakespeare’s a little rusty. If so, don’t worry. The Oak Creek High School Production Company is about to refresh your memory with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the 14th century romantic comedy.
Drama Director Elizabeth Fritz has chosen a play that may be a first for Oak Creek High School. “It will be a challenge for the students,” Fritz said, “but we are ready for it. We have some fantastic actors this year, and this play will make them work up to that next level.”
Fritz also chose Midsummer because it is one of the easiest of Shakespeare’s plays to understand. “Once you know the characters, you will get the jokes,” Fritz said. “There are a lot of funny lines in it.”
As an English literature and teaching major in college, Fritz hopes to share her love of Shakespeare. “It will give the students here at Oak Creek exposure that they don’t normally get,” she said. “Students usually read Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Julius Caesar. The greater student community will learn that there are other Shakespearean plays out there.”
Sophomore Johanna Schmidt has been learning about Shakespeare’s language first hand. As one of the play’s leads, Helena, Schmidt said the dialogue has been a challenge. “It is hard at first because you are not used to it. You have to look at every line and ask yourself, ‘What does this mean?’”
Schmidt said she appreciates the poetry of the play. “As a freshman reading Romeo and Juliet, I thought, ‘This makes no sense.’” Now, though, she said, “Acting it out makes it much more understandable.”
After only a few rehearsals, Schmidt even has favorite lines that she has already memorized. Her character, Helena, is in love with Demetrius. It is unrequited love, however.
Demetrius tells Helena to stop pursuing him, to which she responds, “You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant/ But yet you draw not iron; for my heart/Is true as steel. Leave you your power to draw/ And I shall have no power to follow you.”
“It’s not just prose,” Schmidt explains. “It’s poetry.”
The play opens Nov. 1 and has a four-day run.