Bearden’s production of ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ running through Sunday

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Emma Kate Poole

The cast of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” rehearses for this weekend’s performances.

Bearden’s theater program has managed to pull off a feat that may have seemed impossible when school started in August – hosting live shows in-person.

Last semester, Bearden hosted outdoor performances of the musical review and offered livestreams on demand of the musical Sister Act in the fall of 2020.

However, this semester the theatre program has the opportunity to have performances in the auditorium with a live audience; A Midsummer Night’s Dream debuted Thursday night, and performances will continue each night at 7 p.m. through Sunday.

Tickets are $11.50 and can be purchased at the door or online at beardentheatre.com.

Bearden is known for its talented theatre department. Every spring, people from all over Knox County have high expectations as they come to watch Bearden’s plays.

However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, last year’s play was cancelled. Therefore, actors who have never performed in a Bearden play have big shoes to fill by successfully portraying lead roles.

Despite this pressure looming over this year’s leads, they have found their groove and are thriving in their roles. 

“In the beginning, it was definitely nerve-racking to take on a more major role when it’s my first time in the theatre, but I think over time, really doing it enough, I really settled into the role,” said junior Ethan Saunders, who plays Nick Bottom. “I can speak for everyone here when I say that we have really settled into our characters.”

To ensure that students adjusted to Shakespearean English and their roles are portrayed well, the leads have had to put in extra work outside of school and theatre practices. 

“I have had to work on the Shakespeare text a lot outside of school,” said senior Natalie Duncan, who plays Hermia. “I went back and forth between No Fear Shakespeare and the text from our script to figure out what was going on.”

This year’s cast has undoubtedly worked relentlessly to ensure that they disguise themselves in their roles. Despite putting in ample work outside of the classroom and rehearsals, the leads credit director Ms. Katie Alley for their success.

“Ms. Alley has done a great job at teaching us how Shakespeare works, as well as helping us with the text and our inflections,” Duncan said.

While preparing for the play, the cast and crew anticipated performing at the Ijams Nature Center, but because of unforeseen circumstances, the theatre department changed the venue back to the Bearden auditorium.

“We couldn’t figure out if we were going to have the show outside at one point,” said senior Obed Mutambula, who plays Oberon and Theseus. “We were considering having it at Ijams and were trying to plan how to seat people according to Covid-19 regulations. 

“But fortunately for us actors, those things were more of a headache for our director [Ms. Alley] who figured it out and we’re extremely grateful for that.”

Regardless of inexperience and the stress of venue changes in the midst of preparing for the play, cast morale is high. 

“Overall, everyone is definitely looking forward to this show,” Saunders said. “Everything is starting to come together, and I know that it is going to be fantastic.”