Ashbrook Students Prepare For Their Play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Ashbrook performers Quinn Wright and Aidan Nayak getting serious with their acting.

Ashland University Ashbrook students are putting on Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on March 31 at 7 p.m. and April 1 at noon and 5 p.m.

The show is currently being rehearsed in Jacobs Hall and The Hugo Young Theater where it will be showing.

This play is directed by Sabrina Maristela who explained why this play intrigues her.

“Something I fell in love with while being an Ashbrook Scholar myself about three years ago was plays and their historical contexts,” she said.

“What I always thought was missing, while you read Shakespeare [plays], is that they weren’t meant to be just read. They are meant to be seen, watched, and experienced with other people there” stated Maristela, “We’re doing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” which is Shakespeare’s most popular comedy for a reason. It’s so rich in its content and in its jokes.”

Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” includes three different plotlines – the four lovers, the conflict that arises between Titania and Oberon, and the play within the play called Pyramus and Thisbe. The constant of each of these plot lines is comedy.

Maristela discussed the rehearsal process and how Shakespearean wording is included, “It’s really fun to go through the language with the students. For the students in the play, it’s like a book club coming to life. Right now we are costuming, we have blocked the entire show, I have a couple actors who are completely memorized, and then the next week is show week.”
Currently, the actors are finishing up their dress rehearsal week before the show is finally ready to perform.

Sophomore Aidan Nayak said, “I play Nick Bottom. He’s the best actor in Athens and he’s part of this theater company. There are a bunch of fairies in this play since it’s set in the middle of a woodland forest and they turn Nick [Bottom] into a donkey.”

With this, Shakespeare’s play on words and use of improper jokes is shown through his character’s actions. This is a common theme throughout the show, making it quite a spectacle to each viewer.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” also includes characters who are referred to as “mechanicals.” Two of which are Tom Snout, played by senior Ardith Amon and Robin Starveling, played by freshman Alyssa Shick.

“Tom Snout is kind of distracted in the first act — he’s a tinker, so he does his own thing. Come act three, my character is very invested in thinking through the play, but when we actually come down to the performance, I play the wall,” said Amon.

Shick’s character is different from Tom Snout because she plays a tailor.

“I’m initially excited to do the play because [the characters] are my friends but my role gets thrusted upon me and I begrudgingly accept it. I get to bond with my other friends in Athens and perform an interesting play,” she said.

According to Nayak, “This is the Ashbrook play to see. This play is accessible for everyone – if you’re into Shakespeare, if you’re into comedies, if you’re into Adam Sandler-type stuff, you’re going to love it! This is very much for everyone. My mom’s going to like it as much as my professors are going to like it.”

The rest of these characters can be found in the Hugo Young Theater on Friday March 31 at 7 p.m. and April 1 at noon and 5 p.m. This show is free and open to the public.