An evening of fantasy and whimsy await audience members who witness a classic Shakespeare comedy when the Park Players of Wheeling Park High School present A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the J.B. Chambers Performing Arts Center.
The production opened Friday, Nov. 15, and continues at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17.
Originally set in Athens (updated to Central Park in New York City), the action follows the misfortunes, heartache, and eventual happiness of two couples and the amusing pranks of meddling, magical fairies. These two sets of couples — Hermia and Lysander, and Helena and Demetrius — have their romances complicated by Oberon and Titania, the King and Queen of the Fairies, and their servant Puck. Shakespeare’s lighthearted comedy explores the fickle, dream-like, and sometimes ridiculous nature of love. A Midsummer Night’s Dream brings additional humor with its play-within-a-play format, in which a group of mechanicals celebrates the upcoming marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta by putting on a poorly performed play.
Kayla Kreitzer Nelson, one of the theater directors and alumna of Wheeling Park High School, leads the production.
“As an English teacher, it has been a dream of mine to direct a Shakespeare play. The cast has worked tirelessly to bring these classic characters to life. Many of the seniors in the production I directed in their first productions at WPHS as freshmen in introduction to speech and theater. It has been an honor to watch them grow as actors and actresses and a true privilege to direct them in their final fall play,” she said.
Leading the cast as the four lovers are Amanda McGovern as Hermia, Ryan Quickel as Lysander, Brooke Anderson as Helena, and Tyler Faulstick as Demetrius. The fairy King, Oberon, and the fairy Queen, Titania, are played by Adam Marquart and Laura Tighe, respectively. The mischievous sprite, Puck, is played by Lucia Perri. The merry band of mechanicals are Dailey Ward as Bottom, Emma Mattingly as Quince, Jacob Kuntz as Flute, Joey Carter as Snout, Braeden Keen as Starveling, and Hailey Lewis as Snug.
Rounding out the cast is Hermia’s father, Egeus, portrayed by Luke Ochsenbein; Duke of Athens, Theseus, played by Charlie Mattingly; Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta, played by Natalya Wood; Master of Revels, Philostrate, portrayed by Jacob Glenz; fairies — Peasbloosom played by Adeline Barbour, Mustardseed played by Caroline Spencer and Cobweb played by Kiera Perks; Oberon’s fairies are portrayed by Harper Aulick and Stephanie Ebarb.
Assisting Nelson in the capacity of production assistants for the play are Bill Cornforth, Isabella Droginske, Brigitte Mazure, Scott Hedrick and Mike Harris.
Junior Collin Connor acts as a student leader and Nelson’s assistant director for the production.
The stage manager for the show is Luke Mazure, and the assistant stage manager is Lauren Marquart. Other Park Player crew heads include Jacqueline Heil, Lydia Bischof, Tori Blanton, Emma Mattingly, Veda Wheeler, Harper Aulick, Paige Williams, Lydia Kellas, Lucia Perri, Logan Annett and Spencer Romanek.
Tickets can be purchased online at wphswv.booktix.com or reserved by calling the high school’s main office at 304-243-0400 or theater at 304-243-0417.