By: ASHLEY FRANKLIN
Sexy, fun, smart and scandalous, Eastern’s Theatre Department put a fresh spin on the classic comedy, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The play tangles a complex web of love that encompasses the entire cast.
Opening curtain started with a disapproving father whose daughter is faced with a choice between two lovers. As the play progresses, friendships, and hearts, are broken.
The play took a scandalous turn right before intermission as fairies seductively led a donkey off stage while Marvin Gay’s Let’s Get It On played in the background. During the 15-minute intermission, the audience was serenaded with 1970s “baby-making” music to get them in the mood for the second act.
The cast is composed of lovers, fighters, kings and queens, actors, fairies and one very pleased donkey.
Director Matthew Johnson, a visiting assistant professor in the English theatre department, has directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream 10 times during his career, and each time he has had a different experience. Johnson said the biggest challenge he faced directing the play was making sure the storyline was clear, since the play has many twists and turns, and it is easy for audiences to get lost.
Johnson incorporated the audience into the play by making the seating section the forest. Characters used the aisles as their stage, weaving in and out of rows and sitting on the audience’s laps.
Johnson wanted this version to be sexy, so he pushed the boundaries, sometimes making the audience uncomfortable.
Baxter Wilhelm played multiple roles in the show, including the donkey. His acting was comical and over the top. Wilhelm said his favorite scene to perform was killing himself. However morbid it sounds, it was one of the funniest scenes of the play.
“I stabbed myself multiple times, ripped out my intestines and hung myself with them,” Wilhelm said.
Wilhelm is a sophomore theatre major from Westminster, Md. This is his sixth production with Eastern.
Jonathan Swihart, a senior physical therapy student from Owensboro, attended the show and said the play was hilarious and pushed limits.
“My favorite part was the fairies leading the donkey offstage,” said Swihart. “I was shocked they put that scene in the play because it was so risky. It caught me off guard, but I laughed the whole time.”