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Published: Friday, 10/1/2004

Area theaters present comedies

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Two comedies - one classic, one modern - are on area stages this weekend.

But the classic one has a twist.

For the opening of its 2004-05 theater season, the University of Findlay is presenting William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and it's doing the show in modern dress.

Director Scott Hayes, who is also the program director of the UF theater department, said he chose the costuming for a couple of reasons.

"Our main production in the fall also coincides with our high school workshop. We have about 250 high school students from around Ohio who are interested in theater come and explore what it would be like to take college classes. And we always try to pick a production that might be on the reading list of the high school."

One of the things they have found, Hayes said, that people who haven't experienced Shakespeare, who have only read his plays, have difficulty in finding a connection with the material. Modern dress helps make that connection.

If someone can grab on to a context that makes sense to them, then a lot of times Shakespeare becomes more accessible, he said. This is especially true when you have a play like A Midsummer Night's Dream when there are three different realities.

"You have the royalty reality with the Duke of Theseus and Hippolita, you have the fairy reality, and then you have the mechanicals as well," Hayes said. "So we try to put that into a context where people can buy into all three of them, especially the fairy reality.

"In our situation the fairies in the modern context are more like rock stars. We sort of go on an '80s view like Duran Duran or David Bowie, who are allowed to behave and dress in sort of strange ways."

Hayes' cast is composed of theater majors at the university, including Nikki Marie Coe as Helena, Andrea Coto as Snout, Matthew Harris as Bottom, Josh Hilborn as Snug, Christine Hollington as Hermia, Katie Humphreys as Quince, Sean Kecskes as Theseus, Kyle Kutchenriter as Puck, Chris Leitner as Demetrius, Christen Mathern as Titania, Jim Morris as Flute, Chelsea Riggs as Hippolita, James Stephani as Egeus, Nicholas Toland as Lysander, Matt Waugh as Oberon, and the UF Dance Team as the fairies.

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" runs at 8 p.m. today and tomorrow and 6 p.m. Sunday in the Egner Center for the Arts at the University of Findlay. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens and students. Information: 419-434-4531.

The Little Sisters of Hoboken come back to life tonight when the Williams County Community Theater presents Nunsense Jamboree.

It's the third in the Nunsense musical comedy series, and this one is set in Nashville, according to director Deb Clum.

Sister Mary Amnesia, in the previous shows, won the Publishers Clearinghouse sweepstakes and a country-western contest. In this go-round, the Reverend Mother has convinced record producers to make Sister Mary Amnesia's album, which the nuns are out promoting.

There's plenty of humor in the Hee Haw vein, Clum said, and a set with doors opening and closing like on the old Laugh-In TV show.

"One change we did make is add a few nuns. The original show was for five nuns and a priest, and we have nine nuns," she said.

The cast, all of which is from Montpelier and Bryan, comprises Beth Schweitzer as Sister Robert Anne; Terina Clark as Sister Leo; Crystal Bowers as Sister Wilhelm; Mary Ann Mead as Sister Mary Amnesia, Wes Curry as Father Virgil and a nuns chorus of Angie Cramer, Amy Lavoie, Carol Clark, Megan Clark, and Melinda Robison.

"Nunsense Jamboree" is scheduled at 8 p.m. today, tomorrow, and Oct. 5-9 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday and Oct. 10 in the Montpelier Playhouse, 501 South East Ave., Montpelier, Ohio. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students. A seven-show season pass is $50 and $41. Information: 419-485-3861 or www.williamscountyplay

house.com.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6130.



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