Shaler Area prepares to perform Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Students rehearse for Shaler Areas production of A Midsummer Nights Dream.

Students rehearse for Shaler Area’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

As live shows are finally taking place after being deprived for a year, now is a great time to watch Shaler Area Performing Arts present “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

According to senior Cassidy Laffey, who is playing Helena, this year’s play is going to be filled with fun.

“It’s so well developed and it’s such a complex show and there’s so many fun aspects. There’s fairies and potions and love and honestly I’m very happy with the show. It is a good challenge,” she said.

Laffey is not the only one who is excited to showcase the elements of the show. Play directors Mrs. Anne Loudon and Mrs. Kristen Aluise are thrilled to present the play and showcase a comedic element that differs from the plays that were performed in the recent past.

“The past two years “Radium Girls” was very somber, very heartening…”Little Women” as well, it was a drama…This is one hundred percent a comedy. There’s a lot of physical action and it really gets to showcase the comedic elements of the kids,” Mrs. Loudon said.

The comedic aspect of the play is not the only thing that the directors are looking forward to. This will mark Shaler Area Performing Arts 12th play, and the directors are working to showcase everything in a new and refreshing way that has not been seen before.

“It’s our twelfth show…we actually did this show twelve years ago, so we are trying to re-imagine it and rethink it and make it something different,” Mrs. Kristen Aluise stated. They want to show the audience that although it is the same play from twelve years ago, changes have been made and expectations will differ.

It’s so well developed and it’s such a complex show and there’s so many fun aspects. There’s fairies and potions and love and honestly I’m very happy with the show.”

— Cassidy Laffey

One thing that can be expected from this performance is a somewhat different script of the play. This script is not word for word Shakespeare, but it still delivers all of the same aspects. Shakespearean language is not an easy thing to learn, let alone to perform.

“The script we got is a more modern adaptation of the Shakespeare work…more modern dialect than Shakespearean dialect…the script tried to keep that same poetic form, it’s just a bit more modern,” Frank Babicka, the actor behind Theseus, said.

Laffey also shared details of this different version and some challenges that come with learning and speaking the language.

“We are doing a watered down version of Shakespeare so it’s not crazy. In order to memorize my lines I have to understand what I’m saying and it’s hard to do that now. You have to use your body a lot more. Your body language is what is going to communicate to the audience rather than the words itself,” she said.

She continued describing the obstacles with the language she has noticed thus far. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was written approximately between 1594 and 1596. The language is visibly different from the way people speak now. Even with the “watered down version,” the language will still differ from what we are used to.

“You do this thing where you use your script for a little bit and then you have to not use your script on stage, you have to have it memorized and usually if you have the general consensus of what you’re saying it’s easy to push through the lines. I’ve noticed this year if you don’t know a certain word…your whole flow of the sentence is thrown off and you forget what you’re saying,” Laffey said.

Despite the cast’s anxiety over perfecting the language and overcoming other obstacles, Mrs. Loudon and Mrs. Aluise have full confidence in them. They know that the students will be able to put on a great show. The language may seem difficult, but the cast is capable of showcasing their abilities to the audience with no problem.

“We have built a program with the last twelve shows that we have more confidence in our abilities. The kids, having grown up in the program, have more confidence as actors and are more well rounded performers,” Mrs. Loudon said.

Mrs. Loudon and Mrs. Aluise know that it is going to be a great show, and they cannot wait for the audience to be able to see a different take on this show and for the students to showcase all of the hard work they have been put in to this production.

(I’m looking forward to) being able to perform again on stage in front of a live audience instead of just the skeleton audiences we had last year…part of the fun is hearing the laughter of the audience.”

— Frank Babicka

A major difference that has brought joy to the cast and directors is the return of a live audience. Due to COVID, last year’s fall play had to deal with protocols and quarantine as well as always having the anxiety of someone getting sick or the show being called off.  Due to this, they were not allowed to have a full live audience and it was streamed online.

“(I’m looking forward to) being able to perform again on stage in front of a live audience instead of just the skeleton audiences we had last year…part of the fun is hearing the laughter of the audience,” Babicka said.

The crew ultimately goes off of the audience’s reactions as it truly helps them get through the show.

Laffey is craving the feeling of being on stage with a live audience.

“Just that feeling before I go on stage with an audience. You can hear them rustling and then as soon as the lights go down everyone hushes and then you take your deep breaths and your nerves are settling in, you step on stage and then the light blinds you and then you just have to let the adrenaline take over,” she said.

As it is the first live show since COVID, protocols will be similar to last year, but are a bit more relaxed. As of now, the cast will be wearing masks as the same goes for the audience, but the cast no longer has to go through daily procedures of temperature and symptom checks.

Performances will be at 7pm on Friday November 19th as well as 2pm and 7pm on Saturday November 20th. Tickets can be purchased at, https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/57766.