Jammin’ with Shakespeare

Entertaining, unique, charmingly ambitious, and downright fun are a few words I would use to describe BC’s “Midsummer Night Dream’n.”

I initially had my doubts about the play. Adapting modern music to a Shakespearean play seemed like a disaster waiting to happen. However, in the opening scene, Puck’s (played by Chris Navarro) rendition of Van Morrison’s “Moondance,” immediately and delightfully proved me wrong, as did the rest of the play.

“Midsummer Night Dream’n” is, according to the play bill, a tale of young lovers, corporate takeovers, and comically desperate workers trying to find jobs.

Tammis Doyle, the chair of Theatre Arts at Bellevue College, adapted the play. Doyle was inspired to do the show while she was driving home from a theatre conference. She wanted the play to be fun, and to show that the students can handle Shakespeare along with the milieu of their own culture.

Doyle certainly accomplished what she set out to do. With musical selections chosen by both Doyle and musical director, Sara Hanson, each song was completely appropriate and went along perfectly with the play. I found myself dancing in my seat to The Temptations, The Beatles, Barry Manilow, Cheap Trick, and so on.

The four member band was made up of Sara Hanson on keyboard and vocals, Zack Smith on guitar and vocals, Dan Adams on percussion, and Bradetta Vines on vocals. They played along with the actors and together they never missed a beat.

The students and the crew started working on the play at the start of summer quarter, and held rehearsals everyday from 1 to 5 p.m. in order to be ready for the show.

The cast included a mixture of old BC students, and new ones.

CJ Jaeger, who played Hermia, and John Tembreull, who played Demetrius, both wowed and amused the audience with their vocal abilities during their lovers’ chase. Scott Robertson, who played Bottom, never failed to make me laugh.

The entire cast did a superb job at bringing Shakespeare’s characters to life, and simultaneously adapting modern day aspects such as pulling out a cell phone and frantically searching for service.

Mason Rogers, the light designer, worked thirteen-hour workdays during the final days leading up to opening night to perfect the design according to Doyle’s vision. “I think it turned out great,” said Rogers after the show.

It was great. The lighting was never over done or glaring and everything that needed to be illuminated was, showing the actors in their best light.

Everything about the production fit perfectly. From the giggles of the fairies, to the silly but absolutely fantastic play put on by the workers, nothing seemed awkward or out of place.

Of course, as in every other play, there were moments when lines were forgotten or there were slight pauses in hesitation, but overall, everyone seemed to know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, which was no small feat considering the short amount of time they had to rehearse, plan, and put on the play.

The show ran from Thursday night to Sunday night in the theatre on campus, and tickets were ten dollars. However, the jubilant feeling I had during the drive home after the play was priceless.