Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Lovers & Madmen’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ celebrates spring on the Lakefill

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Jillian Moore/The Daily Northwestern
Theseus (Elliott Hansen) dips Hippolyta (Abby Ciabaton) in a contemporary dance representing the love story of Athens’ leaders. The pair are double-cast as the fairy queen and king, respectively.

Lovers & Madmen’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” welcomed spring over the weekend with a series of free outdoor performances.

Passersby and attendees toting lawn chairs gathered to watch performances of the Shakespearian classic on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Lakefill Southpoint. An abridged version of the original, the play follows four young lovers as fairies meddle with their romantic entanglements in an enchanted forest.

Communication sophomore Haley Bart played Helena, a young woman in a complicated love triangle with two Athenians — Demetrius and Lysander — who are both spelled to fall in love with her.

“There’s just a lot of chaos and fighting and miscommunication between the lovers, which is super fun to play on stage,” Bart said. “Like any Shakespeare comedy, in the end, they’re all in love and married with the right people.”

Director and Communication senior Helena Schatzki said her version differs from the original, as the cast members wear modern clothes and incorporate movement — actors run through the trees and interact with the audience throughout.

“There’s a large aspect of it that’s about nature,” she said. “(Additional movement) really allows the actors and the audience to connect with the nature that they are immersed in.”

Communication junior Margaret Pirozzolo, who played Nick Bottom, said it was her second time playing the role, following her first performance of the role at age 14. She said she has embraced the comedic role as she has acted in more serious dramas at Northwestern.

“It feels easier to be super creative with something that can feel antiquated,” she said. “You have to add elements that will draw the audience in.”

One such addition was two contemporary dances between Hippolyta and Oberon (Communication junior Abby Ciabaton) and Theseus and Titania (Communication junior Elliott Hansen). At the beginning of the play, Hansen and Ciabaton’s dance tells the story of how the leaders of Athens got married.

Near the end of the play, the pair dances as the fairy king and queen.

Schatzki said while her rendition is a deviation from the original Shakespeare, the play maintains its themes of dreams and reality.

“Growing up, I was at a dance studio that was really about dance theater,” she said. “And so, drawing from that experience … I just really wanted the sense of play throughout the show to come alive. There’s a lot of just running around and exploring the space through active activity.”

Bart said although her character speaks only in verse, which has made learning lines challenging, the language barrier of Shakespeare falls away when it is performed.

She added that a college audience can see themselves in the characters.

“We’re the age group that the lovers are in this summer,” she said. “I hope that people take away that love is really complicated and doesn’t always go according to plan. I also hope that people see the show and just have fun with it.”

Email: [email protected]
X: @jillian_moore7

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