How do you take an already classic comedy — William Shakespeare’s "A Midsummer's Night Dream" — and twist it for more laughs? Set it along the Jersey Shore.
Liberty High School's theater department is doing just that this week with its production of Ken Ludwig’s "Midsummer Jersey."
Set on the Boardwalk of modern-day Wildwood, New Jersey, the story revolves around a groom-to-be Gov. Athens and his fiancée, the love affairs of four fresh-out-of-high-school crushes, a lively crew of woodland fairies and six staff members of a local beauty salon. The night takes a strangely magical turn when Oberon, the fairy king, and an impish puck arrive with a powerful love potion and a desire for mischief making. With several weddings and a hilarious take on Romeo and Juliet, the lovers take to the boardwalk, backed by pop music and an iPhone-obsessed wood sprite.
The cast of 36 will perform on a huge set constructed by fellow Liberty students, with complex features including a two-story boardwalk and two rolling platforms. Along with acting in the play, I handled costumes. Assistant director Gabrielle Dellica and stage manager Judy Romero have been working nonstop helping our actors with blocking, setting the sets and putting all of their energy into creating this magical show.
The actors at Liberty focus very hard on the characters they portray and how they portray them. Actor Wyatt Norton said: “When I’m working on my character, I spend multiple hours memorizing my lines and probably spend roughly an hour or two a day working on my character's voice.”
Of rehearsals, fellow performer Haylee Boyer said, “I enjoy getting to know all of the new people and being able to interact and connect with people my age and experience their unique personalities.”
Student Peyton Turk said the show's comedy should be a big draw for audiences.
He said, "The play is really spectacular and the actors have put a lot of work into it and it shows.”
Come on out for a night full of magical laughter and support the high school art scene. Hope to see you there!
The show will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at Liberty High, 925 Jewetta Ave.
— Sarah Bias is a student at Liberty High School.