Shakespeare classic hits the OCCC stage tonight

Rachel Morrison/Pioneer
Philip Aken, front center; Brittany Halbert, back left; Kayla Snyder, front left; Jamie Smith, right; Jade Webb, top; and Yumi Yumoto, middle left, get in character during dress rehearsal for “Midsummer Night’s Dream” which opens at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 in the Bruce Owen Theater.

One of William Shakespeare’s most popular comedies will be performed on campus Nov. 18 through 20 in the Bruce Owen Theater.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” features a play within a play, which will challenge the student actors by having two plays involved in one, said Director Brent Noel.

The enchanted forest where most of the action takes place houses the magical fairies. It is here that love potions and mistaken identities provide much of the humor in the play.

The performance will include many unique costumes, including a donkey’s headdress and fancy fairy outfits.

In addition, the set for the play has been designed to resemble Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in London in the 17th century, Noel said.

The play portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus, played by Rick Beavers, and the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta, played by Sarah Wilson.

The plot includes the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of amateur actors, who are manipulated by the fairies.

The play is one of Shakespeare’s most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world, Noel said. The original script has been modified for 21st century audiences to cut the running time to about 90 minutes.

Mitch McFarland plays Fransis Flute, the bellows-mender. He also performs in the play within the play as Thisbe, the female lead.

By acting in a production that enfolds one play inside another, McFarland jokingly says, “It allows us to be bad actors.”

The play within a play is devised to be comically bad.

“We’re hamming up the badness,” Noel said. “During the time this play was written, all of the woman would have been played by men.”

Braxton Richardson plays Orberon, the king of the fairies.

“I’m in the play to cast spells and make people fall in love, fall out of love and cause commotion,” Richardson said.

The new Globe Theater set was recently constructed for OCCC’s theater arts department. Noel said the plan is to use the set each year for a Shakespeare performance.

Performances will begin at 7:30 all three nights.

The play is free to OCCC students and staff on Thursday, Nov. 18. On Friday and Saturday, Nov. 19 and 20, tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for OCCC Students.

For more information contact the OCCC Arts and Humanities office at 405-682-1611, ext. 7558.

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