Jersey Meets Shakespeare; actors open winter play

Director+Mary+Margaret+Coffield%2C+center%2C+talks+to+a+group+of+cast+members+about+the+details+of+the+show.+Upstage%2C+intricately-made+props+set+the+mood+of+the+play+and+place+it+in+the+lush+Mediterranean.+Photo+by+Aniqa+Rahmen

Director Mary Margaret Coffield, center, talks to a group of cast members about the details of the show. Upstage, intricately-made props set the mood of the play and place it in the lush Mediterranean. Photo by Aniqa Rahmen

Maddie Magruder

Fairy King Oberon, played by sophomore Seth Comara, holds up  a magical flower. When rubbed into the eyes of a sleeping person, it makes the sleeper fall in love with the first thing they see when they awake. He plots to use the flower on his wife, the fairy queen, as a practical joke.
Fairy King Oberon, played by sophomore Seth Comara, holds up a magical flower. When rubbed into the eyes of a sleeping person, it makes the sleeper fall in love with the first thing they see when they awake. He plots to use the flower on his wife, the fairy queen, as a practical joke. Photo by Aniqa Rahmen
The snow days were a relaxing break for many students, but for the cast of Midsummer/Jersey, it was a time to perfect lines and continue character work.
The play, written in 2011 by Ken Ludwig, is a loose combination of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the hit MTV show Jersey Shore. Certain characters are taken from the television show and combined with characters from the classic play, including senior Daniel Duerto’s character Lyle “The Understatement” Fagoili.
“He is a guido spinoff of a character on the MTV show Jersey Shore,” Duerto said. “I never really watched that show until now. I to get an idea of the accent and the attitude. And basically they are beach life bros that like to party, though my character in the play also plays into the Shakespeare play Midsummer Night’s Dream, which makes him romantic at times and very in love with Mia. But the Jersey Shore parody part makes him a lovable dummy that thinks he knows what he’s talking about, but he doesn’t.”
The setting of the play is in New Jersey. It focuses on several different groups of people and their relationships with one another: the lovers, the grown-ups, the hairdressers and the fairies. Senior Carmel Shaka plays Patti Quince, a takeoff of the character Peter Quince  from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shaka’s character is the owner of a hair salon; her character directs the play for the governor’s wedding day, which she puts on with her employees.
“The hairdressers just add so much energy, humor and fun to the show,” Shaka said. “You really can’t help but love them.”
Director Mary Margaret Coffield said the character development really started when the cast memorized their lines and didn’t need their scripts on stage.
“We always tell actors, ‘Your character isn’t going to flourish until you get off the script,’” Coffield said. Since “the lines were memorized … we’ve really seen a change in the way they interpret their characters and they interact with each other.”
Even with four snow days that disrupted the rehearsals, Coffield said she is not worried about the lost time because the cast knows the show and what they need to do to make their characters strong.
“For actors, it’s always frustrating to have interruptions in the rehearsal process and to not have as much time as we want to detail things,” Coffield said, “but this is a very creative cast, and I’m confident they are going to get the feel for it. They understand the script and they’re playing their characters really well, so I think we’re going to get it all back together.”
Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m, Sunday in the RBHS Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $4 for students and $6 for the general public, and student activity passes are good for free admission.

By Maddie Magruder