‘Midsummer/Jersey’ staged at David Douglas High Theater

INCLUDES VIDEO SCENES FROM THE SHOW! Find out why audiences are laughing, cheering, and applauding for this modern version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream that runs through March 19 …

Before another dress rehearsal for their upcoming production Midsummer/Jersey in the DDHS Theater student actors “circle up” for a check-in – a theater tradition..

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The adaptation of a Shakespeare comedy that opened in the David Douglas High School (DDHS) Horner Auditorium on Friday evening, March 10 – it’s called Midsummer/Jersey – gave the students actors all the benefit of learning one of The Bard’s great comedies, but with a fun and modern twist.

Picture this: Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream mashed up with MTV’s Jersey Shore, for a hilarious update on a classic comedy,” was how the show’s director, DDHS Theater Instructor David Rosenbaum, put it at a dress rehearsal, not long before the show opened.

Midsummer/Jersey, DDHS Theater Instructor David Rosenbaum gives direction to help the student actors fine-tune their performances.

“Since it came out in 2011, I’ve been aware of the show – it was written for high school and college theater groups – but I thought it was kind of ‘gimmicky’, and didn’t then want to approach our students with it,” Rosenbaum told East Portland News.

“But then I saw scenes from it at a festival, and it was really good,” he continued.

“And when we read the play, it was such a great authentic representation of Shakespeare’s original play that I love so much, I thought it really did it justice, but in a much more accessible way – a way that our audiences will really enjoy,” Rosenbaum went on.

Rehearsing a scene, Titania, Queen of the Fairies (in white, played by Olivia Eyestone), falls in love with an “unlucky” person.

About the story
Midsummer/Jersey is centered around the imminent marriage of the Governor of New Jersey, plus the love affairs of four enamored beach-bound high school, with a lively crew of zany fairies, and the staff of the local beauty salon.

With several weddings, and the acting careers of six beauticians hanging in the balance, the lovers take to the boardwalk.

All this, plus mischief stirred up by an iPhone-obsessed wood sprite with a powerful love potion. It all takes place enlivened with a soundtrack of pop music.

Workers at the beauty salon don’t know what to make of Nikki Bottom – stylist and amateur actress, played by Dottie Hayden – whose “magical transformation” into a donkey leaves them startled beyond words.

Features large cast and crew
The DDHS production of Midsummer/Jersey features 23 actors. Some 20 stage technicians run all aspects of the show, including stage management, lights, and sound. “And, about 80 students in Theater Tech classes have had a hand in producing the show in some way, either in classes or in the after-school program,” said Rosenbaum.

“Audiences are going away from the Midsummer/Jersey feeling a bit lighter, happier, and perhaps a bit inspired. There are some beautiful moments of people coming together, at the end of the show.”

Meet some of the characters, and watch scenes from this fun show:

Wait! There’s more!

Their minions look on, as Oberon (played by Richard Guinan) and Titania – together the King and Queen of the Fairies – work through a “disagreement”.

‘Midsummer/Jersey’ plays through March 19
The curtain went up at 7:30 p.m. when the show premiered on March 10.

The show also plays in the evenings of March 11 and 17 – and features Matinee performances at 2:30 p.m. on March 12 and 19.

King of the Fairies Oberon finds a new toy – to the surprise of the mischievous wood sprite Puck (played by DeMarcus Stephens).

TICKETS: $12 Adults | $8 Students. To buy tickets online, CLICK HERE – and you’ll open the new DDHS Theater Box Office website.

All performances are at the Howard Horner Performing Arts Center, at 1400 SE 130th Avenue (between SE Stark and Division Streets).

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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