Set the Screen! It’s time for some Shakespeare on the web


The cast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream rehearsing for their online show which will stream live on Feb. 28. Photo by Josh Knox.

The stage has been the most ideal way to tell a story for Harper’s Ensemble Theater, but these troubling times have demanded a new level of creativity.  As with all of Harper, Theater Professor and Director Kevin Long and his students have had to “set the stage” on a screen for their upcoming performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  And while it was a clear obstacle, it’s not one that has held them back. 

“We are really exploring the depth of this box, and we are not afraid of it,” Long explained. 

Since November, Long and his crew have been working  A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a love comedy about mixed up lovers trying to work everything out. Everything about this play–from auditions, to rehearsals was done on Webex–Harper’s web conferencing tool of choice. The one-time performance will be presented live through Zoom this coming Sunday. 

Long has found many creative ways to display mood, emotion, and simple actions that will elevate the performance from a simple, expected theatrical reading of the play.

This production team is excited to try things in a virtual setting that they wouldn’t necessarily get to try on a traditional stage. For example, using a heart glasses filter to display a love spell or moving close up to the camera. This production demonstrates that creativity is something that can’t die, even with a global pandemic.

Little technical errors were the real concern, Long explained. But they are hoping to use some creative measures to overcome  those obstacles also. 

“When someone forgets to turn off their mute, we respond with ‘what did thou say?’” Long described. A little bit of improv–and lots of consulting with IT services–will be the answer for many of their potential  tech issues. 

 A Midsummer Night’s Dream is free and open to everyone on Zoom, February 28th at 8pm. 

Click Here for more information and a link to the show.

Here’s a  promo for the show.