It is a memorable day when you eradicate the tragedy from “Romeo and Juliet,” highlight the farce of “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and showcase the fun and hilarity of the tastes of the contemporary teenager.
With everything from woodland pixies to “Gangnam Style,” Coral Glades High’s production of “Midsummer/Jersey” was a laugh to remember. Look out Shakespeare, because you are headed to the Jersey shore!
This fun-filled production spawned from the ingenuity of celebrated playwright Ken Ludwig, known for writing hit Broadway productions such as “Crazy for You” and “Lend Me a Tenor.” The world premiere of his latest stroke of genius took place at James Robinson High School in Fairfax, Virginia in November 2011. This masterpiece was intended for high school students, and has rapidly spread across the country.
The story centers on the relationship between Mia “Cookie” DiCarlo (Krystina Nealon) and Lyle “The Understatement” Fagioli (Gage Puyear) two high school seniors who want to get married against Mia’s mother’s wishes. To make matters worse, Mia is sought after by Denis (Daniel Lemache), her very persistent and love-struck ex. Mia’s bestie Helene (Lena Armas) is gaga for Denis, making her the object of constant rejection. Meanwhile, an odd group of beauticians attempt to become actors to perform at the impending wedding of Governor Chris Athens (Anthony Mazza).
Puyear as Lyle was clearly immersed in his character’s Jersey-Italian lifestyle. With an impeccable accent and natural swagger, he delivered his lines with ease, fully embodying his laid back character’s persona. Another extraordinary male actor was Lemache as Denis, who can also hold a great Jersey accent while scrapping Helene like one would an irksome mosquito. The interactions between Armas and Lemache in their complicated, magically influenced romance had spectators thrusting their heads back and laughing. One of the biggest crack-up performances was Christina Furbush’s as Nikki Bottom. Her over-the-top personality was a jaw dropper and laugh sparker. Furbush owned the stage marking her character one of the most memorable.
This show teemed with talent as home to sublime actors including Max Miller as Oberon. Miller exemplified the fairy king’s terrifying demeanor as well as his immature flip side, especially in scenes with his faithful servant—and trickster companion—Robin Goodfellow (Puck) played by Kaila Craw. Together, this mischievous duo lit up the stage, partaking in their hazardous and hilarious antics with consistent characterization and unity. A stand out actress was Rachael Rosier as Cobweb who gave the fairy ensemble dynamics with her witty personality. Mazza as Governor Chris Athens portrayed the quintessence of a grown Jersey man, drawing laughs upon his entrance. The highlight of the show was the beauticians spectacular interpretation of “Romeo and Juliet” abridged.
The cast and crew impressively used an outdoor space to better convey the setting. Their execution of lights and sound alfresco deserves commendation despite some notable issues due to power outages. That could not stop the fantastic group of actors gracing the stage, illuminated by the designs of a well-thought out lighting scheme which depicted changes in mood, scenery, and energy as experienced by the characters.
This exciting cast meshed seamlessly and hilariously, leaping over every obstacle in its way. Coral Glades High provided slapstick entertainment where knee slaps and side pains were not missed.