(Posted April 10, 2006)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College Theatre program will present Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" as the first dramatic production in Juniata's Suzanne von Liebig Theatre, a dazzling free-form space that will bring modern stagecraft to the Bard's classic comedy.

The play opens at the von Liebig Theatre in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 20, followed by two 2 p.m. afternoon matinees on Saturday and Sunday, April 22 and 23. The following week, the production will be at 7:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, April 27-29. Tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for students. Tickets are available at the Juniata College information desk in Ellis Hall, or at the Halbritter Center box office.

The production will utilize the new theatre's industrial-modern look to stage a unique version of Shakespeare's play. The theatre, which features a three-story window and two in-the-round catwalks in the performance space, will perform the play using the theatre's new free-form seating system, which can incorporate audiences into the play.

Shakespeare constructed a complex farce in "Midsummer Night's Dream," featuring a love story among two couples, the humorous behavior of the forest residents, and the spectacle of staging a play-within-a-play. The play's central love story centers on two couples, Hermia and Lysander and Helena and Demetrius. When the couples flee their city under cover of darkness, they enter an enchanted forest.

The forest is ruled by Oberon and his queen Titiana,. The forest's mischief-maker Puck, does his best to create confusion and mistaken identities throughout the forest (and the play). Puck is assigned by the king to spread a love potion and Puck's ineptitude as a would-be matchmaker provides much of the humor in the play.

The Juniata version of the play will run about 90 minutes.

The production is directed by Andrew Belser, associate professor of theatre at Juniata. Several members of Juniata's professional theatre program, The Gravity Project, are working on the production.

The Juniata students in the cast are as follows:
Josh Beckel, a freshman from Hollidaysburg, Pa.; Megan Monahan, a freshman from Pottstown, Pa.; Winnie Wong, a senior international student from Hong Kong; Gabriel Lopez Escalante, a junior international student from Ecuador; Daniel Grace, a sophomore from Hopewell, Pa.; Muhammad Jami, a senior from Little Meadows, Pa.; Kellyn Miller, a sophomore from Tyrone, Pa.; Susan Trainor, a senior from Piscataway, N.J.; Tricia Bitetto, a sophomore from Ringoes, N.J.; Mike Wetzel, a junior from Lebanon, Pa.; Adam Vachon, a sophomore from Gray, Maine; Mandi Yeager, a sophomore from Curwensville, Pa.; Wylie Earnhart, a freshman from Mercer, Pa.; and Chris Kochel, a senior from Lancaster, Pa.
Kevin Ott, a lecturer in communication, also will act in the play. Two professional actors, both members of Juniata's Gravity Project, will perform in the play. Andrew Olewine, who is on the faculty at the William Davis Centre for Acting Study, teaching acting and movement, will play Oberon. Heather Rae Miller, a professional actress and costume designer from Sherman Oaks, Calif., will play Titiana.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.