The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

Reflecting on ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

Reflecting+on+A+Midsummer+Night%E2%80%99s+Dream

Tenafly High School’s theater department never fails to disappoint an audience, with shows ranging from sweet, lighthearted musicals like 2021’s spring musical, The Little Mermaid, to more complex and emotionally driven plays like last year’s Love Sick, and in this year’s case, a unique yet modern production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. These performances have been such a huge part of my life as well as so many others’ here at THS.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedic play that connects the romantic love triangles of four young Athenian lovers with the mischievous interventions of magical queens, kings, fairies and actors. Mr. Ahn-Cooper, Tenafly’s theater director, explained how he wanted to take a more modern approach to this classic: “I wanted to make people realize that Shakespeare isn’t boring and can actually be pretty cool if understood. I think setting the play to Taylor Swift music in a more modern, urban environment helped engage the audience more than if we took the conventional approach.”

With the play’s final performance just two Saturdays ago, the bittersweet emotions of finishing this show have still continued to linger with me. It feels so utterly strange to be able to go home right at 3:11 now, without rehearsals keeping us at school until the sun goes down and without having to stress over memorizing my 12-page monologues for the role of Queen Titania. Although I’ll admit that I do appreciate this extra time on my hands, I do miss not having it; part of me would still rather start my homework a few hours later in return for getting to go to rehearsal and being able to get my mind off of my stress.

In fact, something that this production has taught me especially is how much rehearsals truly create a show on their own. Theater places such heavy emphasis on practice and trial and error that without these rehearsals and opportunities for putting ourselves in the shoes of our characters, there would be  no show. Sure, memorizing lines and blocking is half of it, but I’ve learned that what differentiates a mediocre performance from a great one is the level of personality, intention and comfort put into each and every character and each and every one of their words. There’s only so much that mere memorization can do for performers, and actually laying everything out on stage holds so much power in creating an experience for the audience. 

Mr. AC certainly agrees with this importance of rehearsals and how much performers grow through them: “I also just miss being able to see the cast everyday after school during rehearsals. Of course I always miss the shows after they’re done, but I really just miss the people…being able to grow as a group together with the cast and crew.”  

The thing is that I’ve honestly never really seen myself as a “Shakespeare person,” as his writing never came as naturally to me as other forms of literature. However, I’m so grateful that I got to have this experience with Shakespeare as it opened my eyes to such a different language and perspective of both literature and performance. What I’ve learned that makes performing Shakespeare so unique and special is that each word really has to be acted out with a clear path and meaning, as the audience will not be able to understand the point coming across unless each word is said in an intentional way. “Shakespeare isn’t the standardized English we’re used to, so it’s really important that performers know exactly why and how they’re saying what they’re saying,” Guy Persitz, a junior here at THS who played the role of Lysander in the show, said. “It forces you to really act, not just recite words…the audience will only get it if the actors get it.”

Overall, as we approach the official two-week mark since we closed the show, I’ve realized how much I truly appreciate getting to be a part of such an exciting and welcoming experience and community in theater. If there’s anything A Midsummer Night’s Dream has taught me, it’s how important every single person in the cast is to the show and the experience as a whole. I feel so lucky to have been able to create bonds with both new and familiar faces off and on stage, and to have learned so much from both the cast and Mr. AC throughout the process; it’s one that I’ll never forget.

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About the Contributor
Sara Hau, Guest Writer
Sara Hau ('25) is so happy to be a Guest Writer for The Echo! English and Math are her favorite subjects in school, and she loves creative writing in her free time. She also enjoys being class secretary as well as performing in school theater.