The University of West Alabama’s latest play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” will be performed in Bibb Graves Auditorium on March 12-15, beginning each night at 7:30 p.m. Attendance will be free for students and faculty and only $10 for general attendees.
Director of Theatre Arthur Grothe said in an email interview that he selected the play because “it has a number of great roles for a variety of student actors; second, it’s a lighthearted comedy that helped to balance off the darkly comic “The Dead Guy” in the fall, and third, it is a play that we could have a lot of freedom and fun with in the design elements.”
When choosing his concept of the play, Grothe focused on a few lines of the play: “How shall we find the concord of the discord,” “The course of true love never did run smooth,” and “Are you sure that we awake? It seems to me that yet we sleep, we dream.” He compared the complexity of the reality in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to the complexity of our reality, describing both as “out of whack.”
Grothe added his own spin to the design of this play with the addition of a steampunk element. “The ‘steampunk’ fairy world and the ‘sleek, modern, mortal world’ helped to accentuate several of the ideas that were bouncing around my head, most notably that our age of modern communication and the lightning-fast news cycle has distanced us from creating ‘real’ things and ‘real’ relationships,” Grothe explained.
Taz Rapitts, a senior Criminal Justice major who plays the Tatania, describes the setting as a mix of steampunk and Victorian. Both the decorations and the costumes have an edgy twist to them.
Taz describes her fairy-queen character as having a strong personality, prone to jealousy, and passionate in everything that she does. She also mentioned that Tatania is a very sensual character. Taz has had theatre experience prior to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” She had a role in “Spooky Dog and the Teenage Mystery Gang,” which took place in the spring of 2013.
The play’s location proves to be a great opportunity; the auditorium has recently undergone upgrades to its lighting system, and the actors also benefit from Bibb Graves’ larger stage.
The cast is working hard to perfect their portrayals of Shakespeare’s famous characters. According to Taz, the actors are busy rehearsing so that it becomes second nature to them. Taz describes the play as, “heavy on love in regards to heated arguments with mortals and trickery within the fairies.”