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A New Take on a Classic: HHS Playhouse Presents 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

Show times are scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Harrison High School Performing Arts Center.

The words are the same, but the music, costumes and even lighting are different.

This isn't your traditional rendition of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'.

The Harrison High School Playhouse will perform the Shakespeare classic this weekend with an 80s theme, complete with a brightly colored set, unique costumes and that unmistakable 80s feel.

"I thought it was a really fun decade and an appropriate decade to set 'Midsummer Night's Dream'," said Nina Mansfield, the show's director. 

The student cast bought into the idea. Rebecca Cohen, who will play Titania this weekend, said she was a little apprehensive when she heard about the theme, but changed her mind when she saw Mansfield's full vision for the production.

"Bringing Shakespeare into a high school is very hit or miss, most kids have no interest in Shakespeare, so to even attempt to excite them about it is pretty difficult," said Cohen, a senior. "I think putting that 80s spin on it really made it that much funnier, that much more relatable for a lot of students."

A Shakespeare production does come with a lot of challenges. Long monologues—and character names—present their share of challenges for a high school production.

Senior Chris Morris, a veteran of Harrison productions, will play Oberon this weekend. He said Shakespeare productions take a little more effort from everyone involved.

"It's a little more nerve-wracking than usual because it's Shakespeare, in other shows if I forgot a line I can usually talk my way out of it, but the problem with Shakespeare is the language when that happens," Morris said.

Mansfield said the cast has been dedicated, coming in for rehearsal on a day off to make up for time lost during Superstorm Sandy.

"They totally got a handle on Shakespeare and were excited to do Shakespeare, which is nice," Mansfield said.

After months rehearsing for the difficult project, Mansfield said the kids are excited and ready to hit the stage Friday. Show times are set for Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Harrison High School Performing Arts Center.

A brief question and answer session will follow Sunday's performance.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.

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