by JANA WILSON
This September, William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be accompanied by the music of Felix Mendelssohn as the Monroe County Civic Theater (MCCT) celebrates 30 years of Shakespeare in the Park.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream is always a crowd-pleaser,” says Maryann Iaria, MCCT publicity director. Local musicians will play Mendelssohn under the direction of musical director Benjamin Watkins. The composer wrote an overture and other music for this Shakespeare play, including the well-known “Wedding March.” The play full of woodland fairies, amorous misunderstandings, and romantic weddings takes place at Third Street Park.
Part of MCCT’s mission is education, and children are often part of Shakespeare in the Park productions. Several children between the ages of 8 and 14 from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington will play woodland fairies.
Iaria says Third Street Park will complement the woodland setting of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but there still is a need for stage sets, so some MCCT members, all of whom are volunteers, are creating customized scenery, as they do for each play. Other members design costumes, which Iaria says can be one of the most difficult and complex parts of show preparation.
Play rehearsals began in July and continues through early September. Because many in the group work other jobs, rehearsals usually start at about 5:30 p.m. and last until dark. “It’s a lot of hours for everyone, but I love the camaraderie that we have with each other,” Iaria ways. “We’re working as a unit, doing it because we love the arts.”
MCCT emphasizes the diverse and welcoming nature of the theater group. “Everyone who is a citizen in Monroe County is welcome to be in our productions,” Iaria says. “If you love theater, if you can paint, sew, act, design sets, or just want to be a tree, you are welcome.”
Directed by Steve Heise, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is free and open to the public. Performances are September 12–14 at 7 p.m. and September 15 at 2 p.m. For more information, visit mcct.org.