Patriot Players ‘Dream’ of Shakespeare classic

November 12, 2013

By Christina Corrales-Toy

William Shakespeare’s literary works have succeeded in confounding high school students for years.

Whether it’s the Elizabethan English or the iambic pentameter, the name Shakespeare and ease of comprehension generally do not go together.

By Sarah Edmonds Bottom, played by Liberty High School junior Parker Simpson, isn’t quite sure to what to make of the strong come-on from Fairy Queen Titania, senior Natalie Gress, in the Patriot Players’ production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’

By Sarah Edmonds
Bottom, played by Liberty High School junior Parker Simpson, isn’t quite sure to what to make of the strong come-on from Fairy Queen Titania, senior Natalie Gress, in the Patriot Players’ production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’

That changes when his work is acted out on a stage, though, said Liberty senior Alison Fesler.

“When you see it, you’re more likely to get it,” she said.

Liberty High School’s award-winning Patriots Players will bring Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to life as it prepares to debut its 36th season.

The classic comedy follows the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus and Hippolyta. The original is set in a forest, but Liberty’s adaptation takes place in 1950’s New York City.

The 1950’s society is not unlike the one in Shakespeare’s original work, in that strict social codes were challenged by an underground culture.

“It’s going to be jazzy themed,” senior Sami Beers said. “The nobles are going to be big-business tycoons, whereas the faeries are going to be the beatniks.”

Audiences shouldn’t shy away from the show just because it’s Shakespeare, Beers said, because the unique setting adds a different element to the classic piece.

“I know that a lot of people think it’s confusing, but once you see it performed, and especially when you see it put into a new context like we’re doing, it definitely becomes a lot easier to understand,” she said.

It will be just the second show in the school’s new auditorium, and the first nonmusical. Prior to the Nov. 16 performance, Liberty will host a special ceremony, dedicating the auditorium to Jill Landback, the school’s original drama teacher.

Landback was an original staff member when the school opened its doors in 1977. She started the Patriot Players drama club, and set the groundwork for a program that has won more 5th Avenue Theatre Awards, and received more nominations, than any other school in the state.

When the school sought opinions about naming the stage, it received more than 50 letters suggesting the Landback Auditorium.

“Her legacy is still going on today,” Fesler said. “There are all these little freshmen that are still really passionate about drama, and I’m excited to see where it goes.”

Landback retired in 1996, before handing the baton to current Liberty drama director Katherine Klekas.

 

If you go
‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

  • 2:30 p.m. Nov. 23
  • 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23
  • Liberty High School’s Landback Auditorium
  • 16655 S.E. 136th St., Renton
  • Tickets available at the door: Adults are $8; seniors/children younger than 12/students with Associated Student Body cards are $6.
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