Shakespeare has taken a youthful bent this summer in Chelsea Square as the Riseman Family Theatre is putting on two weekends of the classic Midsummer Night’s Dream with a full cast of young people.
It’s the fourth full production put on by the Theatre – a branch of the Apollinaire Theatre – and the first time they’ve tackled Shakespeare.
“The youth program has been going on for a number of years, but with the advent of the Riseman, we are able now to put on full-scale youth productions,” said Danielle Fauteux Jacques of Apollinaire. “I think we thought it would be a great way to connect everything this summer, having two very different productions of the same play in one summer. It’s a fun play and a great play for kids. We’re also working on a grant with TND to get more activity in Chelsea Square, and so part of our production is performed outside by the fountain. The Midsummer play fit the bill in being able to go inside and outside. It’s been a fun way to engage people, even during the rehearsal programs outside.”
The play is directed by Armando Rivera, with the stage manager being Nina Weiss – both heavily involved with the Riseman.
Allison McCarthy has been involved with helping them backstage and recruiting young people.
She said there are nine students between ages 10-16 who are playing the principle roles. They committed themselves to a five-week intensive training program that met five nights a week.
Additionally, there are two groups of young children that play the fairies, and are between the ages of 5 and 9.
“I think it was great to have the adult production of Midsummer and then the kids production,” she said. “The kids got to go see the adult production at the PORT Park and observe the professional actors performing the play. That was really exciting for them as they got ready to do their own version.”
The play has already been performed last weekend for the first run, but it can be seen this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6:30 p.m. starting in the Riseman Family Theatre, Chelsea Square.
The Apollinaire Play Lab Midsummer Night’s Dream cast.
Heschel Stemhauser Roelofs playing Lysander and Madison Weiss playing Hermia.
Lysander, played by Heschel Stemhauser Roelofs sleeps while Puck, played by Mya Feliz performs a little magic.
Kelly Benitez, Katriana Franklin, Anthony Ramos-Weiss, and Heschel Stemhauser Roelofs perform as the laborers.
10 Anthony Ramos-Weiss portrays a confused Bottom, who was not only given a donkeys head but also finds Titania, played by Niyoshi Encarnacion, magically in love with him.
Mya Feliz and Kelly Benitez.
In front of the Chelsea Square fountain, a group of young fairies dance during a portion of the outdoor show. Hair Fashion in Chelsea Square developed a special partnership with the young fairies and volunteered to do their hair and makeup for all the shows.