Arts & Entertainment

‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’: a mesh of technical elements and talented acting

Actor performing during one of the last rehearsals (Photo courtesy of Denise Elia-Yen)

By Audrey Rauh, staff writer

Both stagecraft and actors worked together and juggled a range of different elements at home and during rehearsals for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A tale about four Athenians who run away into a magical forest, where a mischievous fairy meddles in their love lives while an acting troupe practices in the same woods. The work that goes into productions at Maria Carrillo High School is not just actors memorizing lines, but a load of technical work as well. Especially as opening night approaches, both actors and stagecraft students work to pull together lighting, sound, blocking, and finishing touches. All of this happened during the multiple rehearsals every week that ran until 6:30. Zienna Reed, Stage Manager, helped tie together stagecraft aspects with the actors’ talent. When asked what her responsibilities were specifically, Reed stated that she manages technical equipment, assists the director and drama teacher Denise Elise-Yen, and conveys ideas from actors to people in stagecraft. Reed came to every rehearsal to take notes on equipment needed for the show, so problems were fixed quickly and the show would run smoothly. She also helped Elia-Yen with a range of tasks and helped communicate Elia-Yen’s ideas to the cast. 

Although the time commitment is hefty, “When you get all of the elements that you have been working on separately, along with the acting, it’s really satisfying to see the whole thing come together,” Reed stated. Reed also expressed the impact of stagecraft’s work on the play, “The actors are really talented by themselves but with the different elements it’s just a whole ‘nother’ level.”

William Mosier, senior, who played Lysander, one of the main roles in the play, agreed about the large workload but reflected on the importance of rehearsals. “If we just did this by ourselves it wouldn’t come together as a cohesive story,” he said. As an actor, Mosier works on memorizing lines at home and working with the rest of the cast as well as stagecraft at rehearsals where they “build the story.” Mosier is proud of everyone who worked on the play.

Sumithra Smith, who is part of the costume team, has also worked hard to create an immersive play. She explained that first the costume team looks at the script and time period, then they use the personalities of the characters with the limitations of the time period to pick out pieces from the theater’s large collection. If an actor has any input on their character’s costume, then they will take that into consideration as they build the outfits. Smith went on to say that once this process is done, the costume team gets started on any alterations needed. Alterations can mean many things like taking in the sides of a piece of clothing or hemming the costume to make it fit better. The team also needs to work hard in order to get the costumes done before the dress rehearsal so the actors can practice in their costumes, Smith mentioned. When asked how the costumes impacted the play, Smith stated that, “The costumes enhance the story itself, you get a different sense of the story with them.”

With the complexity of both the contents of the play and the many different elements that are needed, hard work and big time commitments are necessary. Nonetheless, Smith, Reed, and Mosier have all stated how fun and rewarding the process has been. Among the students and parents who saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream, few considered the amount of hard work and time poured into this production. However, they reaped the benefits of it when they watched the show.

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