Go Play Outside: Drama Takes Shakespeare Onto River Campus


In rehearsal, Titania (Grace Maroon) pours nectar from a flower into Oberon’s (Kris Stam) eyes.

The stage dims as Lysander and Hermia stare at one another tenderly. A blinding light breaks the loving moment. ‘Relent, sweet Hermia: and, Lysander, yield/ Thy crazed title to my certain right.’ says Demetrius, as he haughtily approaches Hermia.

In recent months, Mrs.Rippel, director of fine arts, and the theatre club have been working on Midsummer Night’s Dream. From the very beginning, Rippel had a love for Shakespeare’s plays. “Over ten years ago, which is crazy, I went to the Globe Theatre in England. I studied Shakespeare. I just loved Midsummer’s because I think it is really accessible.”

When asked to give a synopsis of the play, Rippel laughs “Try to explain Shakespeare quickly.”
Suffice to say: Helena, Hermia, Demetrius and Lysander form a love square.

Jake McGraw, gives a small insider as the actor of Demetrius. “Demetrius is kind of forced on this journey of self-realization and becoming better.”

An example adaptation of the scene pictured above.

McGraw admitted Demetrius is not the good guy. “ Demetrius is a very complicated man. On the surface, he seems to be another romantic, but deep down he’s really out for himself for most of the play.”

McGraw feels Shakespeare’s universality makes it easy to emotionally connect with the character. We’ve all been where they are. it’s like a more intense version of when that person you don’t want to talk to won’t leave you alone no matter how many signs you give them.”

Ultimaely, McGraw confesses, Lysander is his favorite. “People call me a romantic, so that’s probably how I relate to Lysander.”

Rippel and the cast have changed the subplot arises paralleling the lovers. Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies, The original version had Oberon drugging Titania to have her fall in love with the first thing she sees with the ultimate motive for ther to give up the boy. “We’ve actually changed the characters so that Titania drugs Oberon.” Ripel said.

She explained how this change helped pronounce the character’s motives. “It solved some of the complicated issues that Oberon should not be drugging Titania to make her fall in love with someone.”

“So by turning it on its head and taking it out of a romantic relationship and just the manipulation,” Rippel said, “I think it’s really interesting so I like that relationship.”

Rippel said. “Shakespeare really likes to take you on a journey. You experience a road trip of feelings.”

With many twists and turns, the story continues as the lovers both go through many tender moments as well as hardships. On their trek they are constantly faced with situations that require them to reflect.

Rippel deepens the understanding of Midsummer’s setting and theme, “Midsummer’s is a pastoral where everything is so miserable in the court and so happy in the woods. But I think there is a sense of that everything can be better through play and through getting back into nature.”

After all, Shakespeare Stratford-on-Avon to balance out his life in London. Rippel said, “You can take a step out of your problem….When faced with an insurmountable problem, everything looks impossible in that moment. Going out into nature and really just taking the time to let everything go and trying to reframe the problem really can help make things better.”

With COVID still around, Rippel reveals she aims to have Midsummer’s performed outside. She encourages people to bring their friends and lay out a picnic. Families can bring their lawn chairs and enjoy a night of amazing performance and comical humor.