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(Posted 9:30 p.m., Feb. 28)

Cairine Wilson Players tackle classic Shakespeare comedy
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Demetrius confronts Lysander as Hermia looks on during the Cairine Wilson Players production of 'A Midsummer's Night Dream'. Fred Sherwin Photo

As Shakespeare's plays go, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' is one of his most popular works with it's mix of mischevious fairies, star-crossed lovers and a happy ending.

For those of you whose only exposure to "A Midsummer Night's Dream" dates back to Grade 10 English Literature class, it's the one with Puck the fairy, and Bottom, who's briefly turned into a donkey. Starting to bring back memories?.

The Cairine Wilson Players have revised Shakespeare's most popular comedy for their latest production which runs until Saturday night.

"A Midsummer's Night Dream" revolves four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors, who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set.

The play is actually a play within a play. First, you have the four lovers Hermia, who is in love with Lysander but is betrothed to Demetrius. Helena who is in love with Demetrius. Lysander, who is in love with Hermia, and Demetrius, who is initially in love with Hermia, but later falls in love with Helena after he's given a potion by Puck.

Meanwhile, you have a group of labourers turned amateur thespians who are rehearsing a play for the wedding of Theseus of Athens and the Amazon queen, Hippolyta. Among them is Nick Bottom, who the fairy king Oberon turns into an ass in order to trick his wife Titania into giving up her servant.

After seeing how effective the love potion is, Oberon orders Puck to administer it to Demetrius so that he will fall in love with Helena and leave Hermia and Lysander to themselves. This is were things get a little complicated. Instead of administering the potion to Demetrius, he administers it to Lysander and the former rebukes Hermia in favour of Helena.

Upset over the turn of events, Oberon orders Puck to administer the potion to Demetrius, so at one point both men are in love with Helena which causes the duel effect of Helena thinking the two men are trifling with her, while Hermia is distraught over the loss of both men to her friend turned rival.

The situation is finally set straight when Puck administers the potion one last time to Lysander who falls back in love with Hermia and all is right with the world.

The play ends with Puck suggesting that what the audience has just witnessed maybe nothing but a dream.

Having seen a few Shakespearean high school productions in my day, my biggest pet peeve with them is that the actors sometimes rush through their lines, leaving their meaning lost on the audience left straining to hear the words.

And while Thursday night's performance suffered from the same ailment in places it was limited. By and large the actors all did an excellent job especially Eden Taylor-Tapp who plays Puck, and Hailey Stewart who plays Nick Bottom.

The rest of the cast includes Matt Wiley as Oberon, Emily Cairns as Titania, Lindsay Romain as Hermia, Thomas Bland as Lysander, Hannah Witmer as Helena, Jared Hopps as Demetrius, Max Pettifer as Theseus, Chloe Smith as Hippolyta, Ashley Griffin as Egeus, Bailee Pedgen as Peter Quince, Aprad Pihes as Frnacis Flute, Emma Gorle as Snug, Sarah Henderson as Tom Snout, Lily Mercer as Robin Starveling, Gillian Forbes as Philostrate. and Jily Butcher as the first fairy.

The play was directed by Rick Sambell, Set design, costumes and make up were handled by Emily Cairns, with assistance from Jessica Rivers. And Matt Wiley wrote all the original music.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)



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