Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ opens tonight at Burtness

Love and a bit of darkness are in the air for UND Theatre Arts’ first production of the year

Director and UND Theatre Arts instructor Ljubisa Matic says their take A Midsummer Night's Dream stays true to the words of Shakespeare while exploring darker themes than most interpretations have in the past.

Director and UND Theatre Arts instructor Ljubisa Matic says his take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream stays true to the words of Shakespeare while exploring darker themes than most past interpretations. From left to right, front row, Kailey Jerome and Bethany Springs; middle row, Cole Bakke and Dylan Merritt; back, Meghan McNeil. Image courtesy of UND Theatre Arts.

The chill of fall may be creeping in, but the Burtness Theatre at the University of North Dakota is keeping it sultry with its first play of the season, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Arguably Shakespeare’s most noted work, the comedy weaves together four plots in an intricate examination of infatuation and adoration.

Set in enchanted woods, A Midsummer Night’s Dream revolves around the impending wedding of Theseus, duke of Athens, and Hippolyta. Their tale ensnares four lovers and the mechanicals (a coterie of Athenian amateur entertainers) into the predicaments of the heart, orchestrated by the fairies in the forest.

Of course, none of the droll occurrences would be possible without the ever mischievous fairy servant Puck.

“The play will put trust in some magic and will have unexpected moments,” said play director and UND Theatre Arts instructor Ljubisa Matic.

Age-old struggles

Some of these unforeseen turns originate from an artistic analysis that dissects the comedy in a rare manner.

“I was driven by a discovery that the play was darker than most interpretations have given it credit for,” said Matic. “I wanted to try to take the darker road by highlighting the disturbing element of a violent, patriarchal conquest.”

The base nuances coalesce in the constant struggle between romance and power, which prompts burning dichotomies such as love and hate, pain and pleasure.

Despite some directorial whim, however, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Burtness will be a quintessential Shakespearean work.

[T]he story is told in Shakespeare’s own words,” said Matic. “We want people who know the play to be happy that the production is faithful to the text and we want people who haven’t seen a Shakespeare play to be captivated and excited by what they see.”

The vitals

A Midsummer Night’s Dream premieres tonight (Sept. 25) and runs through Sept. 29. Curtains open at 7:30 p.m.

UND staff will assist with parking in either the Burtness, Old Chandler or Twamley lots. Parking free to the public, thanks to the UND College of Arts & Sciences.

Production Team:

  • Director: Ljubisa Matic
  • Scenic & Lighting Design: Brad Reissig
  • Costume Design: Camilla Morrison
  • Sound Design & Technical Director: Loren J. Liepold
  • Stage Manager: Courtney Miller
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Ryan Zako
  • Props Master: Taran Estad
  • Choreographer: Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Assistant Costume Designer: Elise Christy, Bethany Springs
  • Wardrobe Supervisor: Wesley Curtis
  • Assistant Props: Shelby Hazel, Erin Hartwig
  • Scenic Artist: Taran Estad

Cast List:

  • Theseus………………………………………… Travis Dean
  • Hippolyta………………………………………… Veronica Folkedahl
  • Egeus……………………………………………… Nick Porsborg
  • Hermia……………………………………………… Kailey Jerome
  • Lysander………………………………………… Cole Bakke
  • Demetrius………………………………………… Dylan Merritt
  • Helena…………………………………………… Bethany Springs
  • Robin Goodfellow (Puck) ……………………………… Meghan McNeil
  • Oberon……………………………………………… Tanner Sabol
  • Titania……………………………………………… Gina Uhlir
  • Nick Bottom……………………………………      Kyle Mason
  • Peter Quince……………………… Matthew Stavens
  • Francis Flute……………………………………… Kenny Noriega
  • Tom Snout……………………… Chloe Bellione
  • Snug.………………………………………… Elsa Condit
  • Fairy (Peaseblossom)………………………… Erin Chaves
  • Cobweb…………………………………………… Xana Small
  • Mote………………………………………………… Syndi Martin
  • Mustardseed……………………………… Katie Germain

More shows

  • Seussical The Musical, Nov. 8 – 10 and 15 – 17, 2018
  • The Spitfire Grill, Feb. 21 – 23 and March 2, 2019
  • Noises Off, April 23 – 27, 2019