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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Performance Review: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ cast shines in classic Shakespeare story

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Photo by Ari Ismail for The Lafayette
Cormac Hurley ’24 (center) plays Nick Bottom in the adaptation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Lafayette’s theater department will invite audiences into Shakespeare’s magical and chaotic world this weekend with its latest production: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” With a stellar cast and beautiful sets and costumes, director ​​Jarrod Yuskauskas adds a modern flair to the classic comedy.

The Shakespearean tale begins with the impending wedding of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, played by Christopher Taverner ‘25, and Hippolyta, played by Sydney Friedman ‘26. Friedman’s disdain towards her betrothed and ever-present scowl set the stage for the comical story of misadventures, twisted romances and fights — both verbal and physical — that follow.

Central to the story is a love square: Hermia (Sonali Shah ‘26) loves Lysander (Riley O’Connor ‘26) but is being forced to marry Demetrius (Luca Ferrucci ‘27) by her traditional father Egeus (Ian Horch ‘27). Demetrius wants to be with Hermia, but her best friend Helena (Marisa Carroll ‘25), is in love with Demetrius, who hates Helena.

Chaos ensues as romances become intertwined with a lover’s spat between Fairy King Oberon, played by Liam Thompson ‘24, and Fairy Queen Titania, played by Alex Thurtle ‘24. Thurtle and Thompson, both dressed extravagantly in gold and sparkles, shined both figuratively and literally.

Puck, a mischievous sprite and “merry wanderer of the night,” played by Liu ‘25, is the driving force of the show. Liu is on stage for the entire performance, causing mayhem as they gleefully distribute love spells and turn human heads into donkeys. Dressed head-to-toe in Shakespeare paraphernalia, Liu gave hilarious reactions. The rest of the fairies — played by Benry Juno James ‘25, Mary Romashchenko ‘27, Emma Li ‘27 and Camsey Noonan ‘26 — were also very fun to watch, especially when they transformed the theater into a nightclub and vogue strutted down the stage in eccentric costumes.

Particular standouts in a play full of outstanding performances were the mechanicals, a group of actors who are preparing a play to perform at the Duke’s wedding. Catherine Gardner ‘25 as Petra Quince leads the ragtag group of actors, including Truman Morsman ‘27, Hannah Daskal ‘27, Kailey Krausz ‘24 and Joanna Howson ‘26. Cormac Hurley ‘24 delivered several laugh-out-loud moments as Nick Bottom, an overzealous thespian — especially when bouncing off of Thompson as the pair begin a spell-induced love affair. The final play performed by the mechanicals was a highlight of the show.

The set design featured wooden stages covered in doodles and quotes from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the best ones being “fair large ears” and “Lord what fools these mortals be.” Adorned with string lights, rope, tattered veils and an asymmetrical curtain fixture, the set is just as beautifully chaotic as the show. The set is completed with a gorgeous ceiling fixture of white sheer sheets and fairy lights which, when paired with the striking colors of the stage lights, pull together the enchanted atmosphere. 

The cast masterfully navigates a complex, multi-layer plot to provide a funny, dramatic show that is worthy of a crowd. Performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will occur from Oct. 19 through 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 22 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available at lafayette.universitytickets.com.

There is nothing more to say but “Goodnight unto you all.”

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About the Contributors
Isabella Gaglione, Culture Editor
Isabella Gaglione (she/her) is a junior English and Film & Media Studies double major from Long Island, New York. The Lafayette's resident Taylor Swift Reporter. 
Ari Ismail, Staff Photographer

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