Though coronavirus restrictions have shut down social gatherings—including theater productions—Woodberry Forest School’s drama department has decided the show must go on.
The 120-year-old Orange County private school campus closed and its students were sent home, but instruction has continued online.
As part of this, Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be presented as a radio show. Starting Thursday, May 14, the pre-recorded production may be viewable free of charge at www.buzzsprout.com/974998 .
Woodberry is among the top boarding schools in the United States and one of the only all-boys, all-boarding schools in the nation.
Participating in the production, as has been customary for many years, are young women from the surrounding communities, including six girls from Culpeper, five from Orange County and one from Madison.
“I think it is extraordinary what we are doing, keeping theater alive and not disappointing students,” said the school’s Drama and Speech Coordinator, Barbara Wimble, in an email. “So many schools have had to cancel.”
Originally, the production was planned to be performed on the grounds of the school, in a forest setting, fitting in nicely with the setting of the show.
In Shakespeare’s comedy, four Athenians run away into the forest, where Puck, a fairy, causes both boys to fall in love with the same girl. The four have misadventures throughout the forest as they pursue each other, while Puck helps his master, Oberon, play a trick on Tatiana, the fairy queen. Ultimately, Puck restores all as it should be, and the two couples reconcile and marry.
The Woodberry production is directed by Brent Cirves, head of the school’s drama and speech department, and is set in 1973. The actors each provided a photograph of themselves, in costume and character, demonstrating their creativity and vivacity that shines through their performances.