The American Shakespeare Center’s national tour of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will perform at both 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., Feb. 11, in the University of Tennessee at Martin’s Harriet Fulton Theatre, located inside the Fine Arts Building. The early performance is limited to reserved high school student groups and UT Martin students, and admission is free. The evening performance is open to the local community, and general admission tickets are $10 each.
The student show will end with a question-and-answer session between the audience and cast members. The house opens at 9:30 a.m. with the performance running from 10 a.m.-noon. The house opens for the evening show at 7:30 p.m., and the performance runs from approximately 8-10 p.m. There will be no question-and-answer session following the evening performance.
Tickets for the public show will be available from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Feb. 11, in the UT Martin Honors Programs office in the Holland McCombs Center. Those interested can call 731-881-7436 for assistance. Tickets will also be available in the Fine Arts Building Lobby beginning at 6 p.m., Feb. 11.
When asked about the value of William Shakespeare’s work for modern audiences, Sophia Beratta, who plays Quince in the production, said Shakespearean plays give audiences a chance to see the value potential of the English language.
“I think Shakespeare has a reverence and irreverence of language that today’s audiences have lost. … He takes the colloquial and makes it meaningful. He takes the long, complicated, hard-to-pronounce words and makes them comical. Modern audiences should really take this as permission to have fun with language again,” she said.
Michael Moret, who plays Demetrius, one of the production’s Athenian lovers, says this particular production reminds him to have fun with his craft. “One of my favorite parts of the show is the play within the play, where a group of mechanicals put on a production for us – badly. The actors in our troupe go all in and pull out all the stops when performing. So, it is so rewarding to be able to watch them work and play. It taught me to make sure to try and have fun in life.”
While some may view Shakespeare’s works as relics from a time past, Andrew Tung, who plays Snug in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” disagrees.
“The characters in Shakespeare’s works are generally well-rounded, complex portrayals of humanity. The relationships between those characters at their cores are identical to the relationships we make and break in contemporary society,” he says. “Most people know what it’s like to argue with a sibling, or play hard-to-get with a lover, or work to convince a superior or subordinate to agree with them, and these are the same types of happenings the characters in Shakespeare’s works live through.”
“(A Midsummer Night’s Dream) offers, and delivers on, the promise that somehow, despite all appearances to the contrary, everything wrong will be set right and even the biggest fumblings of your life will be well-received by those around you. It’s a nice break from the heaviness of reality and the modern world,” Tung continued.
Both performances are sponsored by UT Martin Honors Programs, the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, and the Department of Visual and Theatre Arts. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact UT Martin Honors Programs at 731-881-7436.