Students walking across God Quad on August 20 chanced upon something quite dramatic. On the eve of Notre Dame’s first day of classes, the South Bend community gathered for the closing performance of Shakespeare’s classic comedy A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. Performed by the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival’s Young Company, this presentation was the eighth in a series of shows in Indiana and Michigan that occurred over the summer.
“Working with a travelling show was a lot of fun,” said Molly Bea Goodman, a Theatre and Religious Studies double major at Saint Mary’s College and stage manager of the production. “There were a lot of challenges that you don’t have in normal theatre: for example, we really had no set. We had eight chairs, six benches, and our props. The set itself and what the audience experienced changed every time.”
Locations for this travelling show ranged from the Wellfield Botanic Gardens in Elkhart to the Lincoln Township Public Library in Stevensville, Michigan, where the opening performance was held on July 15. Some of the actors were recent or current students at Notre Dame at Saint Mary’s. Others hail from Northwestern University and Oklahoma City University.
Students didn’t need to linger for long last Monday before becoming engrossed in this production. Laughing boisterously at every few lines, the joy and enthusiasm of the audience was infectious across campus. Furthermore, this Young Company performed with the grace and skill of seasoned players, demonstrating particular excellence in impeccable comedic timing.
Goodman relished the opportunity to work with experienced and knowledgeable individuals. “It was incredible working with [director] Kevin Asselin,” she said. “He had such a unique sense of the show and used the actors to their full ability. He kept his energy up through the summer heat, which forced us to keep pushing through.”
The Bard was not only on campus through the Young Company. The group is part of the annual Shakespeare Festival, performing alongside members of the community in “Shakescenes” and the Professional Company, who performed HAMLET this season.
“I think that it is a fantastic opportunity for the Notre Dame community to host a festival like this,” said Toni Marsteller, a Saint Mary’s College History and Theatre major and president of Thespians Unplugged.
“It is wonderful to see quality productions, not only by professionals, but by students our own age,” he continued. “Getting to see their productions has been a highlight of the beginning of each year for me.”
Grace Urankar is a junior religious studies major and theatre enthusiast at Saint Mary’s College. She tried to incorporate the phrase “Downright Elizabethan” into this article, but to no avail. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.