Individual elements of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” fail to coalesce


Brianna Parsons

Members of the production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” prepare backstage prior to a performance of the play last week. Baxter was impressed with the detail of the production’s costuming.

Julia Baxter, Staff Writer

Wayne State College theater performed a unique rendition of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” combining 1930s attire and music with traditional Shakespearean dialogue and good acting.

I had a lot of thoughts regarding this performance, and if I am being completely honest most of my feelings are incredibly mixed. So, to be fair to the hard work put in by students and faculty a like, I’m breaking this review down into four sections: the costumes, the set, the acting, and the overall experience.

The Costumes
The costumes were beautiful. I loved the attention to detail, the sparkle on the fairies, and the suits that had been jazzed up or embellished to show the character of the individuals wearing them. They drew the eye exactly where they were supposed to with grand overall flair and small connections between the three groups of characters. Very well done.

The Set
As far as the set goes, it was very interesting and eye-catching. The stage was filled with triangles and was all very angular which created a stark contrast with the flowing costumes. One cool feature was that with the three sets of character groups there were three sets of triangle set pieces each assigned their own color for each character group, and as the characters’ destinies became more and more intertwined, so did the triangular set. This is a really cool feature that I appreciated, even though it was a bit hard to realize until I had it explained to me.

The Acting
The acting was wonderful. Students were cast in their roles very well and as I sat in almost the back of the auditorium I could hear every word. The emotions were plainly seen and the jokes were hilarious. The only problem I had with some of the actors was their lack of diction. Shakespearean language is already difficult to understand, especially if you haven’t ever studied it like most non-theater and non-literature students haven’t. I could tell that some of the jokes were harder for some audience members to understand and it may have been because of the language, or the lack of diction from some of the performers. I will say that I was pleased with the overall performance from the actors.

I want to say that as far as the overall performance goes, I, as a viewer, could see all of the hard work put in from everyone involved. But I have to say that while all of the aspects alone were wonderful, when you put them together, things got a little bit disjointed. The combination of futuristic triangular background, 1930s music and costumes, and Shakespearean mentions of Athenian garb multiple times, just didn’t fit. While the most common way to perform Shakespeare’s work is to set it in a different time and place with the same language, I just didn’t feel like it worked well in this instance. I did still enjoy the show, it was just a bit too unconnected to flow the way it could have.