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Actors Blast to the Past in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Ambrielle Ayllon
Members of the cast look off stage as they practice a scene ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’

The Hamilton theater department’s production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was a blast to the past. The show opened on Feb. 29 and closed Mar. 2.

Ms. Miller, the director of the show, shook up Shakespeare, placing her actors in the 1980s for the setting.

AMPA senior Janiya Woodard said the time period made the play more meaningful to her.

“We’re doing it in the setting of the 80s as teenagers, so since I am already a teenager it’s easy to just connect to the 80’s through the clothes, movement, props, words,” Janiya said.

While the cast worked on connecting with the 80s to produce a unique show, AMPA junior, Foxx Murray, playing the lead fairy, took a deep dive into the setting through film. 

Foxx said their strategy to get into character was “Definitely just going back and looking at different trends from the 80’s and watching different 80’s movies.”

For AMPA senior Matisse Anderson, the setting is the final stop for him on his journey as a Hamilton actor.

“I’m just feeling really overwhelmed, this is my last show,” Matisse said. “It’s been a crazy ride and we’re ending in the 80’s. That’s crazy.”

The show’s unique setting was not the only challenge for the actors. They had to work on getting into character as well, bridging the gap between character and actor.

Janiya expressed her love for her role as Hermia. 

“I like Hermia because I feel like she’s one of the few characters in Midsummers that I can really connect to quickly,” Janiya said. “It’s a role that I feel I can easily put myself into and I love being able to step into another character’s shoes.”

Matisse, playing the role of Oberon, said, “I can relate to him, he’s a king, I’m a Black king.”

Students took on many roles beyond actor in the performance. Foxx, who played the lead fairy, doubled as the show’s choreographer. She worked over winter break on the play’s choreo and rehearsed with the actors starting in January. 

“This was a really fun show to choreograph because it’s a play rather than a musical that just has dance in it,” Foxx said. ”It’s fun to work with people who can really dance well and move. I usually choreograph just children’s musical theater.”

Micah Rosenthal rehearses his role as Bottom during all-day tech. (Ambrielle Ayllon)

The chemistry of the show during rehearsals brought together the cast and made the show an enjoyable journey before opening, the actors said.

“One of the things I will say about this show, there’s a good atmosphere between actors,” Matisse said. “It’s just been a really great atmosphere between the cast and Ms. Miller has worked with us directly.”

“I think all of the bits that we’ve added definitely make it a lot more entertaining than just a regular Shakespeare play,” Foxx said. “It’s definitely, I feel like, a lot more engaging with the lights, the sets, the costumes.” 

The show’s success and the work that went into it was an effort from the actors, but also effort from Ms. Miller. 

Janiya Woodard said, “I feel really grateful for my teacher Ms. Miller who has always been there for me personally and has crafted me into a better actress.”

“There’s definitely a lot of mix of us working on our own time and Miller actually directing us,” Foxx stated. “I think in those different ways we collectively find a good medium that comes together in the end.”

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About the Contributors
Julie Vasquez
Julie Vasquez, Staff Writer
Julie Vasquez is the assistant editor for the student life section of The Federalist. She is a junior in AMPA at Alexander Hamilton Senior High. Julie covers culture and trends. She is interested in drawing along with creative writing! You can share feedback and story ideas with Julie through email at [email protected] or on Instagram @federalistathami.
Ambrielle Ayllon
Ambrielle Ayllon, Culture Editor
Ambrielle Ayllon is the culture editor for The Federalist. She is a senior in the AMPA program at Alexander Hamilton Senior High. Ambrielle covers topics like music, fashion, entertainment, and pop culture. In addition, she is also interested in coffee, digital cameras, singing, cooking/baking, and playing guitar. You can share feedback and story ideas with Ambrielle through email at [email protected] or on Instagram @federalistathami.

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