For a love story filled with several mishaps, mistaken identities and plenty of humor, look no further than Camanche High School this weekend for its production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
English teacher and Director Aaron Westrum said he chose the play not only because of the love story and humor, but also because he knew he had the perfect cast for it. This is clear when junior Zach Nissen swings from a rope onto the stage and frolics across the stage as the mischievous elf Puck and senior Kambren Bigwood lends his humor to the role of Nick Bottom, the play’s comic relief. Juniors Zach Smith and Tori Dann, seniors Alex Stahl and Jenna Hinrichsen fit into the roles as the star-crossed lovers Demetrius, Hermia, Lysander and Helena with ease.
Westrum adapted the script to make the play easier to follow.
“Shakespeare can be tricky and I didn’t want to alienate anyone who might find it too difficult to understand,” Westrum said. “So being an English teacher, I chose to translate the play into a more contemporary version of English so the audience will still get to experience Shakespeare’s genius, but will be able to understand it while they’re watching.”
Some parts were not translated and all of the original characters and essentially what they mean to say and do, have been unaltered, according to Westrum.
For several of the students this will be their last play at Camanche High School. While the seniors are excited to perform this weekend, for many it is also a sad experience.
“It is bittersweet to know that this will be our last play here,” said senior KateLynn Steen, who plays Titania.
For most of the seniors, this play is one of many they have participated in throughout school. Steen has been involved in theater since freshman year, while Bigwood has been involved since fifth grade. Stahl said he wished he had gotten involved earlier, although he has been in several plays the last few years.
“It’s sad to know that this will be my last play with all the people I grew up with,” Stahl said.
Their experiences in theater have also had an impact on their futures. They hope it will remain part of their lives by being involved in plays in college. Stahl and Bigwood also hope to become English teachers someday as well and maybe even direct a play like Westrum.
“I know that I have had such a great time working on this show and the kids have too,” Westrum said.
Showtimes are at 7 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday, with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday at Camanche High School, 937 Ninth Ave. Tickets are $4 for students and seniors and $6 for adults.
Follow Natalie Conrad on Twitter @NatalieConradCH.