What do Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and the popular television show, "Jersey Shore," have in common?
Alpena High School Masquer's Club invites the public to find an answer to that question when they perform their latest production this weekend in the AHS Auditorium. The show, titled "Midsummer/Jersey," is a high-octane retelling of the Shakespeare classic set on the boardwalk of a seaside town in modern-day New Jersey.
Playwright Ken Ludwig, who received a Tony award nomination for his earlier work of "Lend Me a Tenor," wrote this newer piece specifically with high school students in mind.
"It is a timeless story because of the way Ken Ludwig wrote it," said Masquer's Club advisor Lisa Rhea. "He said to use whatever is current now like iPhones and Angry Birds. It's loosely based on the idea of 'Jersey Shore.'"
The story of "Midsummer/Jersey" is set into motion by the impending marriage of the governor of New Jersey, the love affairs of four beach-bound high school crushes, a lively crew of fairies and the staff of the local beauty shop.
The night takes a magical, mayhem-filled turn when Oberon angered by his wife who refuses to buy him a muscle car for his birthday and the impish Puck arrive on the scene armed with a powerful love-potion-filled flower and a desire for mischief making. With several weddings and the acting careers of six beauticians hanging in the balance, the lovers take to the boardwalk, backed by pop music and an iPhone-obsessed wood spirit.
"Midsummer/Jersey" received its world premiere in November 2011 at James Robinson High School in Fairfax, Va., where it played to sold-out houses. The Masquer's Club production will take place this Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
While the show obviously is not a pure Shakespearean production, Rhea said it keeps with the iambic pentameter rhythm during the delivery of several longer speeches written Shakespeare. These familiar speeches aren't just taken from "A Midsummer Night's Dream," but also from "Hamlet" and "Romeo and Juliet."
Approximately 30 high school students are either appearing in the show or helping out with the production.
Ticket prices are $5 for adults and $3 for seniors, students and staff. Former Masquer's Club students inducted into the International Thespian Society will be admitted for $2.