Skip to main content

The Journal Gazette

  • Courtesy Clayton Stout, left, plays Oberon and Bobby Shull plays Puck in Pulse Opera House's production of “A Midsummer Night's Dream.”

  • Courtesy From left: Mya DuBois, Elizabeth Drummond, Annabel DuBois are among the cast of fairies.

  • Courtesy Ella Hall plays Titania in "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Friday, May 03, 2019 1:00 am

Youth have fun with 'Midsummer Night's Dream'

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

If you go

What: “A Midsummer Night's Dream”

When: 8 p.m. today, Saturday and May 10, 11, 17 and 18; 4 p.m. Sunday and May 12 and 19

Where: Pulse Opera House, 127 N. Wayne St., Warren

Admission: $15 adults, $5 children; www.pulseoperahouse.org or 260-375-7017

When “A Midsummer Night's Dream” opens on the Pulse Opera House stage tonight, there won't be adult actors on stage. But audiences will hear Shakespeare's original language in the comedy featuring a variety of characters, including fairies.

“It's a one-hour version of the play, but everything's in there,” says Cynthia Smyth-Wartzok, artistic director of the Warren theater. Some of the monologues have been shortened, for example.

Smyth-Wartzok says she was a bit surprised how easily the young people took to the script.

When she was getting ready for auditions, she wondered whether the children would be overwhelmed. She put out excerpts of the script ahead of time if they wanted to take a look. When the time came, she had copies of the lines available, but every young actor who came to audition had the lines memorized or had brought copies with them.

She says the children weren't afraid to do Shakespeare at all.

“They just love the story and they love the language,” Smyth-Wartzok says. “It's been an interesting experience. They delved in with every bit of themselves, and that's been fun.”

Most of the cast is between 11 and 13, but there are children as young as 4 in the production.

Smyth-Wartzok has done this play with adults and spent lots of time going over the text. But with this production, she hasn't had to do much explaining other than looking up unfamiliar words here and there.

“They're getting a kick out of the wordplay in it,” she says of her cast. “And they're getting it, which is fun to see, too. One ... said 'Oh, Bottom isn't just a horse! His name is Bottom, so he's a horse's behind.' And they all got to giggling.”

The show includes two pieces of original music written by area mothers who have children in the production.

Julie Drummond wrote music for the lullaby that the fairies use to put Titania to sleep. She is a music teacher at St. Paul Catholic School in Marion and recently bought ukuleles to teach her students on.

She says she realized the sound of the ukulele was closer to the instruments from Shakespeare's time than a modern guitar, so she went with the smaller instrument for the lullaby.

The tuning of the guitar also appealed to Drummond as she worked on her piece, which switches between minor and major keys.

“The nice thing about a ukulele ... even when you have a kind of sad song on a ukulele, there's still a ring of happiness to it,” she says.

Her oldest daughter, Rebekah, will play the ukulele in “Midsummer Night's Dream,” and her other daughters, Abigail and Elizabeth, play fairies.

“My daughters will get to sing my song, so that's a neat little thing to have,” Drummond says.

Another area music teacher, Danielle Webb, wrote a song for Bottom to sing. Her son, Parker, will sing it in the show.

Having that kind of creative talent available is a boon for Pulse Opera House.

“It just feels like what community theater should be about,” Smyth-Wartzok says.

cmcmaken@jg.net