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MICA Presents 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' the Shakespearean Mythological Melting Pot, March 24-April 4

City Paper review says class "commits to the total visualization and realization of a production" and "an interesting twist in the art school's offerings."

Posted 02.19.10 by mica media relations

A Midsummer Night's Dream

BALTIMORE--Following last spring's sold-out performances of HAIR, the inaugural full-scale theater production in BBOX, MICA's student dramatic company, Rivals of the West, MICA faculty and staff will present A Midsummer Night's Dream. The 10 performances of this Shakespearean woodland romantic fantasy will feature an imaginative set and provocative staging, capitalizing on all the artistic and performance talents of the College community. Performances take place Wednesday, March 24-Saturday, March 27 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, March 28 at 7 p.m.; Wednesday, March 31-Saturday, April 3 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, April 4 at 7 p.m. in Gateway's BBOX (1601 W. Mount Royal Ave.). Peter Shipley, a MICA photography assistant, returns this year as director and choreographer.

A City Paper review says "the large ensemble and production crew behind this student presentation of Shakespeare's durable comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream have certainly sunk a wealth of creative energy into the production's audio/visual presentation. The costumes are fantastic, the lighting choices dramatic. The music compliments the play's many moods. And the set is a stunning jolt of magical imagination."

Christopher Shipley, who serves as producer of A Midsummer Night's Dream, explains the importance of having performance experiences at MICA with, "We need events, which not only involve but touch the whole community. Events that give the community an opportunity to come together ... and celebrate, watch and be a part of the exhibitions, talents and skills of the creative energies of our students. But also to celebrate that this is something we do, that this is a product of our creative environment."

A Midsummer Night's Dream, Promo Video from Paul Slupski on Vimeo.

The spring production is the culmination of the annual six-credit The Play's the Thing course for MICA students of all artistic disciplines, taught by Shipley, the co-director of MICA's artist residency in Rochefort-en-Terre, France. The course-the conception and purpose of which is to produce a full-scale production-sets the stage for MICA's new curricular emphasis in the performance arts.

"All of the different arts are interrelated so we, as students, should learn as much as we can, while we are in this educational environment," said cast member Zac Lawhon '11. "Acting in A Midsummer Night's Dream allows me to better understand aspects of performance art, characterization for my creative writing minor and even teaching."

"The class, 50-60 students strong, commits to the total visualization and realization of a production, pooling their diverse artistic strengths together for a common goal," says the City Paper review. "It's a wily collaborative effort, and an interesting twist in the art school's offerings: MICA live-theater experiences have typically been more performance based, interactive/body outgrowths of the traditional disciplines. That Rivals exists at all is a bit of a circuitous coup: very right-now young visual minds taking on the sort of traditional theater that has littered Broadway and community stages for generations. The class debuted with Hair last year, and in Midsummer Rivals takes on another woolly enterprise."

BBOX, named in honor of Baltimore-based designers Betty Cooke '46 and Bill Steinmetz '50, is 58 feet by 58 feet in size, with flexible, movable seats and risers to accommodate a wide range of performance configurations. Its technical equipment includes an HD LCD projector and retractable screen; multi-channel digital sound system and 96-dimmer lighting system with computerized light board; and a tension wire grid 19 feet above the performance space to accommodate customized lights, cameras and other equipment.

Tickets: $10, all students with ID; $20, general public and are available at the MICA Bookstore or online at the theater troupe's Web site.

For more information about the show, cast bios and rehearsal images, as well as to buy tickets, visit www.mica.edu/rivalsofthewest. A short promotional video by Paul Slupski '12 is available on the site.

For more information, call 410-225-2300.

Image credit: Nechama Frier '10, Bonnie Bladen '10, David Colson '10 and Erica Scheff '11, poster for A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 48 states and 61 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. Redefining art and design education, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.