By Elyana Schosek
In elementary school, there’s always a big field trip to look forward to each year, but once you get to high school, field trips become rarer. Aside from the grand and expensive international trips, there are few inexpensive trips for high school students.
In recent years, students in advanced English classes have had a number of field trips, many of these being to see plays associated with classic literature. Included in this are Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility,” George Orwell’s “1984” and Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird,” just to name a few.
The most recent of these was William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” What made this play differ from the others was the atmosphere. While the others had been in smaller more decorate auditoriums, this one took place at Kleinhans Music Hall in conjunction with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO).
This was the first performance for many of these students that combined music and theatre to such a degree.
“The venue was amazing and the musical itself was quite interesting as well,” Keaton Wnuk said.
The large stage featured a full orchestra in plain view of the audience with the sets in front of them. The entire performance boasted a delicate balance between the orchestra and the acting.
“I like the way that there was only a small minimalistic set,” Nathan Cudney said. Charley DiGangi noted that he had expected “more music as it was an orchestra.”
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is written with a more poetic touch making it slightly more difficult to understand. Not all the classes in attendance had read the comedy prior to the trip, and many students weren’t even sure of the plot until the intermission came. The intermission was full of questions and answers among both teachers and students.
“I found most of it confusing, like scenes would just completely change when you’re not expecting it,” DiGangi added.
The time period during which the play was written makes it all the more difficult to understand without context. Jaime Dickinson was also confused on the plot but noted that “it was very mystical and elaborate.”
She continued in saying that she liked “how it set the scene so well.”
The entire plot is abound with mystery and magic, love triangles and lies. In addition to the main plot of a Greek puzzle of love, there is a side-plot that features a group of artisans rehearsing a performance of a tragic love-story which added lots of entertainment to the whole play.
“My favorite part was the play that they put on within the play, where the guy just ran around yelling randomly,” DiGangi added, and it’s likely not a stretch to say that the majority of the audience had the same opinion.
Ben Sullivan noted, “It was cool to see Shakespeare in action after learning about it in school,” and Annemarie Harrigan added that she thought “it was really good,” and that she enjoyed “seeing the BPO along with it.”
In comparison to some of the other plays this group has been to see, this one was definitely more complex and required much more attention than the other plays especially for anyone who didn’t read it beforehand. But overall it was a good experience for the students to see a classic piece of literature like Shakespeare come to life.