GLENDALE, Ariz. – William Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is the newest production of the Glendale Community College theatre program, opening Nov. 1 at the Performing Arts Center.
The show is being directed by theatre arts and film faculty member Lesley Tutnick-Machbitz, with script adaption by theatre Faculty Emeritus Virginia Ludders.
Tutnick-Machbitz has been wanting to direct one of Shakespeare’s plays since she arrived at GCC seven years ago, and has just been waiting for the right year.
“It just seemed like the perfect time, the right group of students, everything kind of aligned and I was just so excited to introduce the language to these young actors,” Tutnick-Machbitz said.
Tutnick-Machbitz said that she is really lucky to have had the help of Ludders, who has a background in Shakespeare and did research and dramaturgy for the production.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” follows several interwoven events. Four lovers; Demetrius, Helena, Hermia, and Lysander, run away to the woods on the eve of Theseus, the Duke of Athens’ wedding to Hippolyta. Oberon, the king of the fairies, grows angry over an argument with his wife, Queen Titania. All the while, a troupe of actors rehearse a play in the woods intended for the dukes’ wedding.
Students have worked with faculty and staff throughout the design and creative process. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” also has a cast of 26, which is much bigger compared to Tutnick-Machbitz’s previous GCC show, last spring’s “Eurydice”.
“This has been an amazingly committed group of students, it’s been an absolute joy. They’ve been excited and focused and eager to learn, and yeah, it’s like a dream cast,” Tutnick-Machbitz said.
Ruben Davalos is one of the newer actors to the GCC theatre department. Davalos is playing Francis Flute, one of the actors preparing to put on a play for the duke. Davalos said that he was very excited to jump in to this show, even though Shakespearian English can be challenging.
“Because I love acting, I knew Shakespeare is a must, and that you can’t get away from it, and it’s actually something I look forward to because of how important it is and how impactful Shakespeare was in the culture,” Davalos Said
During rehearsals, Davalos and the other actors were provided with a packet to help them approach and better understand the language in the script.
As for why Shakespeare’s plays should continue to be celebrated and performed hundreds of years after they were first published, Tutnick-Machbitz had some thoughts.
“They’re universal. They’re universal stories, There’s stories about love, and loss, and anger, and greed, and jealously, and sorrow, and celebration, and what’s more human than those things? Shakespeare did a great job of discussing and describing the human condition, and you know, it’s hard to find something that really deals with that,” Tutnick-Machbitz said.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” opens at the Performing Arts Center Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. The show then has performances Nov. 2, 7, 8, 9, plus a matinee on the seventh at 2:30 p.m. Admission is $8 for the general public, and $5 with ID for students, alumni, staff, and seniors. Tickets can be purchased at the box office, or in advance at vendini.com.