Out of the classroom and onto the stage: Theatre and English departments collaborate

The poster for A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Union University Theatre Department will be presenting Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream from Nov. 10-15. This particular production is unique in that John Klonowski, assistant professor of theatre and director of the play, invited the English department to participate.

“I got them on board early on,” Klonowski said, “I said, ‘let’s collaborate.’”

Scott Huelin, professor of English, and Jason Crawford, assistant professor of English, have a hand in the play as consultants, helping craft the look and direction of the play. Klonowski said that they were at rehearsals helping out and that the first two weeks of production they did table reads to perfect the cast’s understanding of the material.

Gavin Richardson, professor of English, is accustomed to teaching Shakespeare’s plays rather than performing them. He said he values the unique opportunity to appear in the production as Egeus.

“I always understood that Shakespeare wrote a play, he didn’t write a script,” Richardson said. “He meant for it to be perceived and experienced in the theatre.”

Richardson said that he’s been teaching Shakespeare for 20 years, so he doesn’t take this role lightly.

“It’s been a great experience to learn the difference between the word on the page and the word on the stage,” Richardson said, “I feel a lot less like an imposter after actually having been an actor in a Shakespearean performance.”

Richardson has been a professor for years, but now, in a way, he’s back in the position of a student. And he’s a quick learner. He said there’s a servant aspect of performing in a play with college students. In situations like this, divides between professors and students and between various disciplines don’t exist, as everyone works together with the same passion, toward the same goal.

The play opens tonight at 7:30 and will run until November 15. Tickets are $7 for general admission and $5 for students, faculty and staff if purchased in advance at uu.edu/theatre. Tickets will be avalible at the door for $2 more.