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FDSH to perform Shakespeare

The students at Fort Dodge Senior High are bringing Shakespeare to the Gail Niceswanger Theater next week – with a twist.

The FDSH fall play is William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” but the setting will be a bit more modern than the 16th century.

“The text that we’re reading is the original Shakespeare, but we kind of adapted the costumes and set to be set in the 1950s,” said FDSH senior Gracie Miller, who plays the mischevious sprite “Puck.”

“We were hoping to create a kind of Tim Burton-feeling to it,” Lindey Krug, director and theater teacher, added. “Give it sort of a fantastical-world quality, like a dream would be.”

The cast and crew of about 30 have been hard at work the past several weeks, memorizing lines, designing sets and preparing for opening night. It hasn’t been easy, however – the weekend of the performances has already had to be postponed a week.

“I think the biggest challenge was people getting quarantined along the way,” said Josh Meier, a senior who plays the character “Lysander.”

The cast was divided into different rehearsal groups to help limit contact with others, and for the most part when someone did have to miss rehearsal, they weren’t completely absent.

“We had them propped up on a Google Meets call so they could still do their lines, but they’re not actually in the space with us,” Miller said.

All of the cast and crew wear masks or face shields throughout rehearsal, and will continue to do so during performances, adding another challenge.

“We have to really project and the face shields are going to contain our sound more, so we’re going to have to project a lot more,” said senior Victoria Pavik, who plays “Helena.”

The play itself was a challenge to overcome for the teens as well.

“Shakespeare is very hard to memorize,” Pavik said. “Because the words are not like the English we speak now, so it’s hard to get used to.”

Miller said the students involved in the production are all very grateful that the Fall Play is happening at all.

“When it was about time for auditions, I was worried we wouldn’t even have a fall play, or that if we did have a play, it would be so far from what we all know and love and are used to, but we have really adapted well, I think,” she said.

Krug, as director, was determined to have some sort of production for the students to perform in, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19.

“These kids, especially the senior class, have had so many opportunities change for them or be taken away from them because of the pandemic and as their director I really wanted to provide them with that normalcy as much as you can,” she said.

The show has its opening night on Friday at 7 p.m. Other performances will be at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Nov. 14. Tickets are $5 and are limited to 150 audience members each show. To reserve a presale voucher, call FDSH at 515-955-1770. Masks will be required to attend the shows.

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