TUPPER LAKE - Thespians at Tupper Lake Middle/High School are tackling a big challenge this fall: William Shakespeare.
Actors will perform the Bard's comedy "A Midsummer Night's Dream" this weekend, a step up in difficulty from the school's typical fall plays.
"This year, we have enough veteran talent and enough enthusiasm for the play that we decided to take on something bigger," director Shane McIntosh said during a rehearsal last week.
The “rude mechanicals” perform their play for the royal wedding parties. From left, Snug the joiner (Caitlyn Fortune) plays a lion, Robin Starveling (Klarissa Hoyt) plays Moonshine, and Francis Flute (Dakota Larabie) plays Thisby. The Athenians watching in the corner are, from left, Annachristi Cordes as Hermia, Kendall Davison as Queen Hippolyta, Alex Gagnier as Theseus (standing), and Theresa Bower as Helena.
(Enterprise photo — Jessica Collier)
McIntosh said his students were nervous at first, but it made them work harder than usual.
"I've never seen them memorize their lines faster," McIntosh said. "They really rose to the occasion."
He said the students are doing fine with the language, since Midsummer is one of the easier Shakespeare plays to understand. The comedy is one of Shakespeare's most popular for the stage, and it's about a group of young Athenians trapped in a few confused love triangles who venture into the woods to try to figure out their problems, and the fairies there who try to fix their relationship problems while creating some of their own.
McIntosh said he thinks the audience should be fine understanding what's going on, too.
"It's always easier to see a Shakespeare than to read it," he said.
Several students agreed that they were nervous at first about trying Shakespeare.
"I was like, 'I'm not going to be able to do Shakespeare because the language is so hard,'" said sophomore Dakota Larabie, who only knew a little Shakespeare from English class. "But I'm actually enjoying it."
Larabie said it was surprisingly easy to memorize his lines.
"I was proud of myself," Larabie said.
Larabie plays Francis Flute, who is part of a group of working-class characters that stages a play for the royal wedding parties, and his character cross-dresses to play Thisby, a tragic lover. Larabie speaks in a high voice when he's playing Thisby and will don a dress.
"Me and Brandon (Bedore, who plays Nick Bottom and Pyramus, Thisby's star-crossed lover) are the comic relief this year," Larabie said.
He said he's enjoying making people laugh, though he was a little nervous to see the costume he will have to wear, since they weren't in yet at the end of last week.
Larabie noted that the large cast has made it difficult at times to work together, but he said all of his fellow actors have been very supportive, and the compliments they have been giving each other have helped give everyone more confidence.
Junior Allison Sexton plays Peter Quince, another actor in the play-within-a-play. Sexton saw "Midsummer" when the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts performed it in a local park a few years ago, so she was excited about doing the show, even though she was a little nervous.
She said she's having fun, though it's been "a lot of hard work," too.
Senior Abby St. Onge said she's having fun playing Titania, queen of the fairies.
"I love it," St. Onge said. "I love her attitude."
St. Onge didn't know "Midsummer before auditioning for the TLHS production, and she said it was "Very different, and very scary at first, but it turned out alright. It was a lot of fun."
The show runs at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the TLMHS auditorium. It costs $5 for adults and $4 for students and children.