Fairies, royalty, Old English and a play within a play — Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” has all of that, and Portales High School students are performing it.
The play opened last night, and performances are scheduled today (Sunday) and Monday.
“It’s about the course of true love and all the bumps on the way to finding it,” said student teacher and director Aneta Rude.
She added that there’s a play within the play for comic relief.
The plot involves fairies, two human couples, a troupe of actors and the havoc magic and mistakes create.
Rude, filling the director’s seat for the first time, said the biggest challenge was helping a 90 percent-freshman cast learn a junior-level play. Her reward was seeing the students show their understanding in dress rehearsal.
“Their Shakespearean language was very conversational,” Rude said. “The emotions were right. There were moments that made me cry, and moments that made me laugh. And I’ve just seen them grow and mature so much as actors and actresses.”
Junior Marissa Mowrer said playing Helena, one of the principal characters and her biggest role yet, has been stressful but worth it.
She said it was hard to memorize the lines, master the movements on stage and get to the rehearsals.
“It’s really worth it whenever you feel that rush on stage and everybody’s clapping for you and you know you did it right,” Mowrer said.
Senior Katlyn Gore, who portrays Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, said going into past times with the performance is kind of like an adventure. She had to learn how people in the past spoke and carried themselves, plus get used to big, old-fashioned dresses.
The technical aspects of the play also brought challenges.
Sophomore Lex Lambert, one of the play’s techs, said she had to research and dig through recordings to identify and locate the proper music.
Master tech and senior Sam Rice said he’d never before had a 100-piece set with six people to move it. Students have been building the set for two months.
“Blood, sweat and tears really got put into this set,” Lambert said.
PHS drama teacher Bill Strong said he has enjoyed seeing the students relate the play to their own lives. It’s still relevant today, he said.
Mowrer said audience would be able to grasp the story line even if they couldn’t understand the language. With young children, Strong said, they would enjoy the spectacle even if they didn’t follow the language and plot.
“People should come see it to see what the youth of our community can accomplish when they pull together,” he said.