Ancient Greece and Elizabethan English are coming to Valley Center Stage (VCS) this summer.
VCS will debut its first Shakespearean production, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” on June 14.
William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a raucous tale of midsummer madness set in Athens. Shakespeare’s charming and most popular comedy is replete with plot twists of mistaken identity, mismatched lovers and mischief-making fairies who meddle with magical love potions causing two couples to become ensnared in a chaotic swirl of love lost and found, transformed and restored. A lively band of characters including a rustic troupe of would-be actors also help hinder the couples on their way to a happily ever after.
Directed by Brenden and Wynter Elwood, local residents can look forward to experience Shakespeare in North Bend.
“We have a long list of plays we want to do and will do,” Brenden Elwood said. “We thought Midsummer would be the best introduction to Shakespeare. It’s so magical that anyone can see the message in their own eyes.”
Elwood said he was nervous when VCS announced it was doing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
“We weren’t sure how many people would want to audition for this show,” he said. “We weren’t sure how many people would really want to do Shakespeare.”
To Elwood’s surprise, the production received the highest number of auditions the theater has ever seen.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “It shows that we’re touching on something that the community wants. They want this [Shakespeare].”
Alex Wallace is one of those people. Wallace is cast as Helena, one of the four lovers.
With a background in Shakespeare at her college, she said she enjoys performing Shakespeare.
“It’s been a blast to be a part of this production,” she said. “It’s great to have the opportunity to bring Shakespeare here.”
She said she’s one of the few members of the cast who have experience performing Shakespeare productions.
“It’s been interesting to see the others get used to the language, and it’s been great to be able to assist them in any way I can,” she said.
Katheryn Stahl is cast as Titania, Queen of the Fairies. It is her first production at VCS. She received her bachelor’s degree in acting from Central Washington University and earned her master’s degree in fine arts from Michigan State University.
“I just love this play, and there aren’t many opportunities to do this play much around here,” she said.
She said this is the third time she’s been in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” but this is her first time playing Titania.
“This is a really exciting opportunity to play her,” she said.
Throughout her time working on thr production, she said she’s enjoyed working with the cast.
“It’s been a joy to meet new people and do something that I love,” she said.
Tony Leininger, who plays Theseus, Duke of Athens, said he’s also enjoyed working with the cast.
“It’s been rewarding to work with other actors and meet the challenge of Shakespearean language,” he said.
While this is VCS’s first Shakespeare production, Leininger said he hopes the community will embrace it and want more of it.
“I know a lot of people here come to see shows here, but may not be into Shakespeare,” he said. “We do justice to the play, and it’s just so much fun.”
Wallace mirrored Leininger’s sentiment. “If you want more Shakespeare, give this show your support.”
VCS’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will run from June 14 through June 30. The final matinee performance will be held outside, co-sponsored by VCS and Si View Metro Parks.
To purchase tickets or learn more about this production, go online to the VCS website (valleycenterstage.org/shows/a-midsummer-nights-dream/).