The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


August 16, 2012

Shakespeare's words to resonate in local parks this weekend

MILTON - “Shakespeare wrote plays, his works were meant to be performed, not read,” explained George Casper of the Gaspipe Theatre Company.  He co-directs, along with Derek Scott, the troupe’s rendition of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” their 13th Annual Shakespeare in the Park performance.

On Friday through Sunday evenings, audiences in Milton, Williamsport and Lewisburg will have the opportunity to enjoy Shakespeare’s comedic, tangled love story performed by a dedicated group of passionate local actors.

Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m,. Friday at the Lincoln Park Gazebo, Broadway and Front streets in Milton; 7 p.m. Saturday at St. Mark's Courtyard, 142 Market St, Williamsport, and 7 p.m. Sunday at Hufnagle Park in downtown Lewisburg.

This is the third time in the series that “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is being presented, and according to actor Ben Hartman who portrays Puck, it represents “the epitome of summer, because of the themes, and the fact that it was meant to be performed outdoors, in exactly these conditions.”

Scott agrees, adding that it is also a great introduction to Shakespeare for children. “Children will love it … there are fairies, people running around, and magic spells.”  

Anyone who may have found Shakespeare’s dialogue intimidating to read, will be delighted to know that the actions and emotions of the actors make it easy for audiences of all ages to understand what is happening in the show.

Shakespeare’s themes of love, parental interference and illusions have continued to resonate with audiences for four centuries.  Kimie Muroya, who plays Hermia, commenting on the perennial appeal of Shakespeare says, “it’s awesome that 400 years later, people are still putting on his shows.”  She conducted a little research about her character and was fascinated learn of the many famous actresses with whom she has shared the role, including Helen Mirren.  

Karen Herschell plays Hermia’s mother, who is unnamed by Shakespeare.  Herschell, who finds the play to be very visual, says, “ I’m the bad guy, I play the mean Mom.”   

The role of Demetruis is played by Colby Bastian, who believes Shakespeare’s message in the story is, “love can be real without being perfect or fairy tale.”

The differences between the Shakespeare in the Park performances and the late 16th century version would be in the interpretation, according to Casper.  Nothing is added, but some minor dialogue has been deleted for audience appreciation, and some modern sight gags are incorporated into this production of Shakespeare’s work.

Casper hopes people come out to enjoy the performances, which are free for audiences to enjoy, although donations are gladly accepted and much appreciated.  

As Casper said, “You can tune into your TV every week, but we only do this once a year!”

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