Miracle Mile brings ‘midsummer’ to life

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Showbiz Theater Company on the Miracle Mile staged a “Hook,” inspired rendition of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream through April 29.

A handful of Delta College students took part in creating the magic of an enchanted forest, fairies, and drama. 

Traditionally, Showbiz uses a proscenium stage but Director James Reed decided to immerse the audience in Athens along with the actors.

“This is my first play directing, ever. I’ve done musicals but this is my first play. I just fell in love with the story a while ago and I figured this would be a great vehicle to modernize and hopefully bring younger people into this world of Shakespeare. We worked with the fact that it was the concept of a telenovela so really you don’t understand the language but you have an idea of what’s going on,” said Reed.

The story follows the character Puck, played by Romy Evans. 

As Puck’s young mind brings the characters to life in the twisted tale between young lovers, the room becomes an enchanted forest.

Puck’s costume in the first scene is modern with a t-shirt and cargo pants then becomes Rufio-esque with feathers and a fur vest. A similar transition happens to the Athenian characters as they enter the forest and mix into Puck’s imagination.

 Delta student Grace Wiesepape did costume and makeup design for the show. It was her third Shakespeare show. The modern Athenian costumes, had to be bought. Fairy costumes were regular outfits that were altered or created into whole new projects. 

Methods used were tye-dyed, ripping and shredding a lot of stuff AND adding to leather jackets. Nothing was made from scratch. 

“Thank God,” said Wiesepape. 

A notable prop/costume piece was Bottom’s donkey head made of intertwined twigs. The piece was a collaboration between Reed and Wiesepape. Makeup was minimal for theater in the round, the most makeup was facepaint, worn by the Lost Boy-themed fairies. 

Costuming was more demanding with theater in the round. Actors interact with the audience during the show so any inconsistency in wardrobe will be noticed. 

“A lot of people who are starting to costume may see things like this as a challenge, ‘cause he (Reed) wanted it modern but fantasy and he wanted lost boys but realistic and he still wanted it to be known ‘these are fairies,’” said Wiesepape. 

She advises aspiring costume designers to use whatever you can get out of your direction
and reminds as long as you check in everybody will be happy.

Actor Ricky J. Vasquez is also a Delta student. He portrayed the the character Francis Flute who later becomes Thisbe. 

“I have done Shakespeare before and I knew that I already liked it. Reading it was kind of difficult to get the language but I was really excited to get deep down into the words and the meanings and come up with the new insults in older English,” said Vasquez.

Check out the company’s future shows this summer at showbiztheater.org.