Members of the Quinnipiac University Theater Program performed William Shakespeare’s “A Mid-Summer’s Night Dream” this past weekend in Buckman Theater. In front of scenery including beautiful flowers, trees, and a brick arch, the actors portrayed the Shakespearean favorite excellently. The audience was captivated by the outstanding performance.
Quinnipiac Theater professor Crystal Brian directed the play, along with her assistant director, L.J. Athieh. The play chronicles the love of Hermia, played by Kelly Torquati, and Lysander, played by Seth Williams. Hermia is ordered by her father Egeus, played by Brian Berkowitz, to marry the man whom he approved. That man is Demetrius, played by Scott Coogan.
Hermia was repulsed by Demetrius, wants nothing of his love. Her eyes are only for Lysander. However, Demetrius does have an admirer. Helena, played by Erin Gaughan, had been seduced and then abandoned by Demetrius. Helena continued to pursue him, despite his apathy and abuse towards her.
The play took a turn towards the unexpected when Oberon, played by Jim Andreassi, and the hilarious Puck, played by Dave Brand, entered the story. Obreron, wishing revenge on his wife Titania, played by Alexandra Chuba, rubbed a magical herb on her eyes while she slept, which made her fall in love with the first person she saw. That person was Bottom the Weaver, played by Neil Breen, who at the time was unknowingly adorning the ears of a donkey.
Oberon’s sidekick Puck mistakenly used the herb on Lysander, making him fall in love with Helena when he awoke from his slumber. Lysander begins a chase for Helena, who believed she was being mocked by both of the men who had pursued her. This left Hermia alone and distraught, determined to find her lover.
To Hermia’s surprise, she was rejected by Lysander when they reunited. Realizing the mistake that had been made, Oberon ordered Puck to fix the problem with the help of the magic herb. Puck rubbed the herb into the eyes of Lethander.
When Lysander awoke, he once again saw the vision of his dear Hermia. Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius, and Helena convinced Egeus and Theseus, played by Justin Sintic-Liebman, that the respective couples should be joined in marriage.
This production was by far the best that I have seen by the Quinnipiac performers. The opening of the play with the entrance of the Theseus and his soon-to-be wife Hippolyta, played by Sara Stochmal, accompanied by music and dim lights set the mood for the entire play. Justin Sintic-Liebman, with his tall stature and strong acting ability, was the perfect Theseus. His counterpart, Stochmal, portrayed perfectly the supposed role of the women of the time, quiet and proper.
Seth Williams and Kelly Torquati provided and outstanding performance. Their chemistry was obvious from the opening moments they shared on stage. Gaughan, who has acted in several plays at Quinnipiac, showed her true acting talent once again. Through the performances of each of these actors, the audience could feel the pain and happiness that the characters felt.
There were a handful of actors in this who helped make it the comedy it is meant to be. Two of the most comical characters, Bottom the Weaver and Puck, left a lasting impression on the audience. Neil Breen, a rookie at acting, gave one of the most outstanding performances in the play. With his energy and comedic tendencies, the audience was left in stitches. After seeing this performance, it is easy to see that Breen will have a promising career in acting.
The same is the case for Dave Brand. In portraying Puck, Brand leaped and flew uncontrollably across the stage. His energy kept the audience enticed and laughing constantly. With one eye slightly closed, tip-toeing around the stage, Brand worked his character slyly into each situation, but not going unnoticed.
The Quinnipiac Theater Program has done it once again. There is much more to come. The theatre workshop will be presenting two nights of two one-act plays in Buckman Theatre on Saturday April 7 at 8 p.m. and Sunday April 8 at 3 p.m. They will be performing “The Actor’s Nightmare” and “Mind’s Eye.”