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Friday May 20th

Coker Arboretum becomes a stage for Shakespeare play

Midsummer Night's Dream
Hermia: Erika Edwards 
Lysander: Byron Frazelle
Buy Photos Midsummer Night's Dream Hermia: Erika Edwards Lysander: Byron Frazelle

Coker Arboretum has been transformed for LAB! Theatre’s performance of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which premieres tonight.

“I was walking through the Arboretum and thinking about ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and how it has a very specific atmosphere,” said student director Nicola Vann, a junior dramatic art major.


Time: 8 p.m. Thursday until Tuesday

Location: Path between Morehead Planetarium and Coker Arboretum


Lindsay Franco, a sophomore strategic communication and Italian major who portrays Starveling and Peaseblossom, said the atmosphere of the Arboretum perfectly mimics that of the play.

“There’s something magical about the Arboretum at night,” Franco said.

The play follows several pairs of lovers — both human and fairy — and the problems they face as they get involved in the supernatural and natural worlds, respectively.

There is also a group of actors who get involved with the fairies and the Athenians while trying to put on a play within the play.

“All these groups of characters get mixed up in one another’s schemes, and havoc breaks loose,” Vann said.

Noah Lieberman, a freshman political science and applied mathematics major who portrays Bottom, said the performance uses a lot of physical humor and jokes to tell the story and to help those who may not be familiar with the plot or Shakespeare’s work.

“Half of Bottom’s jokes are puns that don’t make sense anymore,” Lieberman said.

“You put a lot more comedy in the physical aspect.”

The physical location of the performance changes to show the different locations in the play. The forest and Athens are represented by the Arboretum and the pathway between it and Morehead Planetarium, respectively.

The fairy forest is lit up with Christmas lights, electric candles and lanterns to provide a magical and mysterious feel for the supernatural realm.

“For a play that’s fantasy, it’s fun getting to do it in a forest,” Lieberman said.

Franco agreed, but she said working outside has its downsides.

“I am covered in bug bites and scratches, but it’s worth it to be in a place that embodies the play so much,” she said.

Lieberman said the biggest challenge has been dealing with noises and other people who stumble upon the location.

“It’s interesting to see how people react to theater that’s not in a theater,” Lieberman said.

Every performance has been sold out, so LAB! opened up two rehearsals Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We sold out faster than we expected,” Vann said.

“It’s very exciting, but we want everyone who wants to, to see it.”

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