Every year, the University Players puts together a main stage production for the spring semester. Last year, it was the musical “Footloose.” This year, it’s one of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Melanie Pratt, a junior theater major performing in “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” about the play itself.
EE: Who are you playing in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream?” Was it someone you wanted to play?
I am playing the role of Puck. He’s the fairy king’s lieutenant and a goblin, a knavish sprite of the wood. I went into auditions hoping to read for Puck, because he is my favorite character from the play. He’s playful, cunning and mischievous.
EE: Why did you decide to do this year’s main stage play?
I was very excited after learning that we were doing a piece from Shakespeare. I was even more thrilled to know that it was “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” I know this play pretty well, so I had a bit more confidence in myself to audition for it, rather than to appoint myself as backstage help.
EE: Is this your first year doing the main stage play? Have you done the plays in the Countdown Theater?
This is my first year performing in a play at the university level. I was an Athenian citizen for the same play when we put it on in my high school auditorium. Most of the time, I’m backstage help, or I am the house manager for both main stage and the Countdown Theater.
EE: What was the audition process like?
For most of the plays we have on main stage, we enter into the art gallery in Sloan and are given monologues from various characters to look over. We then emote them towards the director as best as we can. The director will sometimes give us other monologues to read until she is satisfied with what she has seen. Sometimes, we’re also given dialog between two characters so the director can see how people interact with others on stage.
EE: What is a basic rehearsal like?
Rehearsals grow from reading off the pages to memorizing those lines, to working with scenic elements, to running the whole show, costumes and all from top to bottom. It’s a work in progress, but we it’s definitely come together nicely.
EE: Who is the director? Can you tell us a little about him/her?
The director is Ramona Broomer, a professor in the performing arts department. She is a wonderful lady who is very insightful and knowledgeable about the subject she teaches and how she directs. This semester, she is teaching Women in Theatre, a seminar I am currently enrolled in. She has gone above and beyond the call of duty as a director, and put together the costumes for the show as well.
EE: Are you excited for opening night tonight?
I am absolutely thrilled for tonight. I am a bit nervous, but I believe that having the right amount of anxiety is a good thing. It keeps you on your toes, and keeps you moving forward.
EE: When does the play open to students and the public?
The play opens tonight, and plays until April 9, and then April 14-16 at 7:30 p.m. There is also a matinee performance at 2 p.m on April 9.
EE: Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
Tickets can be reserved and picked up at the box office Monday through Friday at 12:30-3:30 p.m, as well as a half an hour before the show begins (firstname.lastname@example.org). TICKETS ARE FREE! Please come out and share this wonderful experience with us; we will be glad to have you!
Photos by Michayla Brewster