‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ launches Shakespeare on Guild stage

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Photo by Sue Suchyta
Helena (Shannon Hurst, left, 21, of Warren) faces the wrath of Hermia, (Kim Alley, third from left, 20, of Redford), who is restrained by Demetrius (Michael Suchyta, second from left, 18, of Dearborn) and Lysander (Nick Marek, 23, of Westland) in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which runs Aug. 15 to 17 at the Players Guild of Dearborn. For tickets, go to playersguildofdearborn.org.

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By SUE SUCHYTA
When the curtain rises on the romantic comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Aug. 15 at the Players Guild of Dearborn, the fundraiser will be the first Shakespearean performance in the Players Guild of Dearborn’s 87-year history.

Show times are 8 p.m. Aug. 15 and 16, and 2:30 p.m. Aug. 17. Tickets are available at the door and online, at playersguildofdearborn.org/tickets. Tickets are not available by phone for this production.

While past Guild shows, like the musical “Kiss Me Kate,” have featured Shakespearean scenes, this is the first complete production the group has mounted.

Director Katie Suchyta of Dearborn said over-analysis of Shakespearean plays in an educational setting often robs them of their magic in the quest for philosophical meaning.

“Shakespeare wrote plays specifically to entertain, and it’s the actors’ job to make it happen,” she said. “This cast is fantastic, and I know the production will be so as well.”

“Midsummer” features both human and magical beings, as well as a play-within-a-play. Separated human lovers are bewitched, then reunited, a spell cast on a fairy queen causes her to fall in love with a donkey, and a traveling troupe comically prepares a play for a royal wedding celebration.

Nick Marek of Westland, who plays Lysander, one of the young lovers, said the show is fun to watch, and the cast delivers the dialogue in a way that is easy for audiences to understand.

“The actors are so good at speaking the Shakespeare that you are not going to be confused,” Marek said. “The show has lasted so long because the relationships in it are so real and the things that happen are very normal feelings that a lot of people can relate to.”

Kimberly Alley of Redford, who plays Hermia, one of the young lovers, said she tells people that Shakespeare was meant to be watched, not just read.

“It is a lot easier to understand when it is being performed,” Alley said.

She said the cast is bringing out a lot of the humor written into the play, and that she has a hard time keeping a straight face during rehearsals.

“I think (audiences) will be surprised to see how much fun we are having with it,” Alley said, “because usually you watch a Shakespeare (play) and even if it is a comedy, sometimes you can find it a little boring. But I feel since we all have so much fun, it just brings that energy and that life, and hopefully the audience will see that and enjoy it.”

Shannon Hurst of Warren, who plays Helena, another young lover, said that if audiences watch the action onstage carefully, the dialogue becomes easier to understand.

“With this play in particular there is a lot of physicality to help make it a little easier for the audience to understand,” Hurst said. “‘Midsummer’ is a really audience-compatible type of play.”

She said Helena is a fun character to play.

“She is tall, and I get the tall girl problems,” Hurst said. “She is in love with a guy she has been chasing and has had this thing with for so long and now he is just constantly breaking her heart, and everyone all of a sudden seems to be in a conspiracy. She is just very confused and smart, because she has a lot to say, but she is a lot of words and no action.”

Cory Thomas of Belleville, who plays Theseus, the Duke of Athens, the ruler of the city-state, said he hopes audiences enjoy experiencing Shakespeare performed.

“As far as I am concerned, Shakespeare is music for the eyes and ears, and it should be a lot of fun,” Thomas said.

Others in the cast include Jenna Gadille of South Rockwood as Hippolyta, William Dunn of Taylor as Philostrate, and Dearborn residents Mary Mentor as Egea and Michael Suchyta as Demetrius.

Daniel Morency of Grosse Pointe Park plays Oberon, with Samantha York of Dearborn as Titania.

Playing the fairies are Tayler Jones of Detroit as Puck, with Shannon Bingham of Dearborn Heights as Peaseblossom, Veronica Estigoy of Livonia as Mustardseed, and Dearborn residents Katerina Stanley as Moth and Karyna Sitkowski as Cobweb.

The mechanicals include Sarah Kornacki of Dearborn as Peta Quince, Matthew Pecek of Grosse Pointe Park as Nick Bottom, Matthew Marlin of Lincoln Park as Robin Starveling, and Dearborn residents Abdel Raouf El-Alami as Snout, Kyle Tillman as Francis Flute, Christian Plonka as Snug and Jonathan Lundblad as Pat.

HFC PRESENTS ‘THE GOOD DOCTOR’
Henry Ford College presents “The Good Doctor” for two weekends, Aug. 7 to 17 in the MacKenzie Fine Arts Center.

The play uses comedy sketches by Neil Simon adapted from the humorous short stories of Anton Chekhov. Mary F. Bremer-Beer directs the production.

Show times are 8 p.m. Aug. 7, 8, 9, 15 and 16 and 2 p.m. Aug. 17. Tickets are $12 for general admission, with $10 pricing for seniors and $8 tickets for students. To order, go to theater.hfcc.edu.

‘SO LONG UNTIL TOMORROW’ AT WYANDOTTE’S AKT THEATRE PROJECT
The AKT Theatre Project in Wyandotte is opening a rehearsal of “So Long Until Tomorrow” to audiences at 7 p.m. July 25 at the James DeSana Center for Arts and Culture, 81 Chestnut in Wyandotte.

The show, directed by Angie Kane Ferrante, opens at 7 p.m. Aug. 1, with additional performances at 7 p.m. Aug. 2, 4, 8 and 9, and at 2 p.m. Aug. 3.

The artistic process of adapting the screenplay written by Michigan writers Bradley Michael and Josh Samson began with a staged reading in June. The open rehearsal provides the community with a glimpse of the production’s progress.

The story follows two friends, Miles and Jude, who hilariously test the boundaries of friendship and morality while trying to help a friend overcome a financial and emotional crisis.

Those wishing to attend the open rehearsal should call 734 258-8370 or email tickets@AKTtheatre.com. For performance information, go to AKTtheatre.com.

The cast features Stebert Davenport of Belleville, Krista Schafer Ewbank of Grosse Ile Township, Julia Garlotte of Chelsea, Jack Hundley of Wyandotte, Mandy Logsdon of Clinton Township, Hope Morawa of Lincoln Park, Jacob Moscynski and Lisa Youngs of Wyandotte, Sarah Oravetz of Pleasant Ridge.

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