WINDHAM — Shakespeare meets India's Bollywood under the stars in a new Windham High theater production.
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" will be staged outdoors for three nights this weekend, next to the football field.
It's the first time the troupe is performing outdoors and volunteers spent six weekends building a stage beyond the goalposts.
"Theater itself originated as an outdoor activity back with the ancient Greeks," said director and humanities teacher George Kendall. "For myself, I just love doing outdoor theater. There's something really magical about it."
Students feel it's special, too.
"It's really a whole different feel from being in the auditorium. Out here, we're always walking through the audience, making entrances," cast member Matt Browne said. "We don't have to limit our actions just to the stage."
The cast is taking a different approach to this Shakespeare classic.
"We're taking Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and using Indian Bollywood as the thematic structure for the play's world to be in," Kendall said. "This should add an interesting twist to the whole show."
There will be Indian costumes, ethnic dance, music from Bollywood movies.
Student Shyam Sheth's family donated the costumes.
"They are all authentic Indian costumes," parent volunteer Suzanne MacKimm said.
Lots of hard work has gone into the show already.
"We've been working on it a lot. Every day after school we're here until about 5:30," cast member Lauren Irish said. "We've been trying really hard to make this an awesome performance outdoors."
Work included building the stage.
"This was about six weekends of work with a group of students and some parent helpers," Kendall said. "We'll have some special things in store, with the stage itself, in terms of entrances and exits. We'll just leave it at that."
The school isn't providing chairs. That means spectators will have to bring their own lawn chairs, cushions, blankets.
"The comfort level for outdoor theater is very dependent on what the audience brings with them," Kendall said.
They can choose the flat area in front of the stage or try a perch on a nearby slope.
"There are a lot of different venues to enjoy the play," he said.
The students just want an audience.
"People should come out to see it," student actor Dan Rubery said. "It's got some very funny scenes, some clever puns, actually. It's kind of a little bit more aimed at the adult audience just because it is about love. So 5-year-olds are going to be, like, 'love story, great.' But really it's a fun show at most other times. So, it's for all ages.
Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The play will move indoors to the school theater if the weather is bad. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and students. They will be sold at the gate.
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