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Arin Merrill


Though being a painter, I guess I have never truly understood all of the
elements that go into making art. Art consists of many different aspects
and, in my opinion, I would have never known of them unless I had been
formally educated on them as we were in the class. Throughout the time of
this course, I learned about the different mediums used to create or express
art such as sculpture, painting, music, and even through dance. This class
also required that we attend a few live performances as well. Those were
particularly interesting because that was stepping outside of my comfort
zone and attending something I would have never attended on my own. Not
only that, but during class itself, we would have many different discussions
on the certain element of art we were studying during the time. I enjoyed
when we would gather around the art wall and someone would pick s
painting and then, as a class, we would analyze it and compare and contrast
opinions and views.

I also learned many things will participating in this class. It is one thing
to read about an art form from a text book but to actually break it down and
analyze it is another thing. While participating in class discussions, I was able
to get a view on other peoples opinion and see what they see through their
own experience or interpretation of something. I found it very interesting to
hear what we, as a class, thought of a painting and then compare it to what
the artist actually intended.
Before this class, I had never really been interested in going out and
view live performances, it had just never been my style. When I found out we
had to start attending live performances, I wasnt very pleased. The first
event I attended was an art show. After learning about art in class, it seemed
like I enjoyed the gallery more because I was able to appreciate the talent
and technique that went into each painting. Then I attended a symphony.
Though symphonies are never really too interesting, I was able to catch on to
the tempo of the song and I could hear the melody as it wove its way in and
out. I was able to appreciate music more. After that, I attended a play. While
watching the play, I noticed the spacing between the characters, how their
costumes played into effect, and the tones of their voices. All in all, I must
say that actually viewing a live performance is far better than say listening to
a symphony on tape of watching a play on TV. Live performances truly
convey the meaning of the piece by the energy they give out.

The Whimsical Midsummer Nights Dream

I attended Midsummer Nights Dream down at the South City Campus

on Thursday of this week. This performance took place in the Black Box
Theater which is a smaller, more personal theater on the top floor of the
SLCC South City Campus. The stage was dully light, and had a foggy feeling,
that somewhat of a forest. The lighting would change from greens to blue to
yellow. Almost throughout the entire performance, I noticed that none of the
characters ever had a spot light on them. This could be because of the stage
being so small that they were always well light. The performing group was z
select few college students who are majoring in theater. By watching them,
you could tell they have true passion for what they do. The director of this
performance was Julie Heaton. Originally, this play was written during the
late 1500s and took place during that time period as well. The director of
this performance decided to switch things up a little. Heaton did her research
and discovered a more modern time period in which the issue of women
being undermined is still at hand. Heaton decided to have her performance
take place during the Roaring 20s. This spices up the play and modernizes
the performance, making it far more enjoyable. Now, I have never been a fan
of plays or anything theatrical but after attending this one, I vow to myself to
attempt to attend more done by the SLCC Performance Company. Hello, can
you say date night? Anyways, the story line behind Midsummer nights
Dream is that of a young girl who has fallen in love with a boy, Lysander, but

her father has an arranged marriage for her to that of the young man,
Demetrius. Hermia does not want to marry Demetrius, she wants to marry
her lover, Lysander. This causes her father to become angry, he threatens
her that if she does not marry Demetrius, she will be executed. Without
having very many options, Hermia decides to run away with Lysander. She
only tell one person and that is her best friend, Helena. Helena has a huge
crush on Demetrius so she believes that if she tells him of Hermia and
Lysanders plan, that hell like her. That could not be farther from the truth.
By telling Demetrius of Hermia and Lysanders plan, he becomes angry and
decides to try to find the two. Now, true to every Shakespeare play, there is
always something that causes trouble, something mystical. In this play, that
character is Puck. He is told to do one simple task and he somehow messes
up. He puts a spell on Lysander and makes him fall in love with Helena. Will
trying to reverse the spell, he ends up putting a new one on Demetrius, who
also ends up falling in love with Helena. Thinking it is all a big joke to mock
her, Helena becomes angry at Hermia and they fight. Finally Puck is able to
fix the spell and Lysander falls back in love with Hermia and Demetrius stays
in love with Helena. Everything is as it should be, again, true to the nature of
One character I would like to focus on is Helena. She is an Athenian
who is in love Demetrius. Her character is smart but insecure because
though she deeply loves, Demetrius, he does not love her. For the most part,
she runs around like a chicken with her head cut off. Her voice is somewhat

higher timbre. The tone of her voice is not gentle, but not harsh either, it just
simply more erratic than the others. It is also slightly shill-ish. It is a kind of
voice that would leave you with a headache after talking to her for too long.
Now, I know that is not the really actors voice, she portrays this voice to
make her character seem more girly and innocent. There is a slight accent
used, almost that of a European, she is also whiny. When she would deliver
her lines, they had a very quick tempo, making them frantic sounding. The
rhythm was all over the place, in fact, I dont think I can say there was a true
rhythm at all. At times, it was somewhat difficult to understand what she was
saying because her lines were given so rapidly. In my opinion though, I can
see great skill levels she had as an actress to give those lines that quickly
and have them memorized by heart.
Another aspect of Helena, done by Maegan Lambert that I would like to
talk about is her appearance. Again, this performance is done in the early to
mid-1920, where the flappers originated from. This being said, I loved her
costume. Helena wore a bright pink dress that was above the knee
(*whistle.) The dress had tassels around the bottom of it and tassel looking
material on the rest of it. She wore slam heels, appropriate for that time
period, not too flashy but still had some style to them. Her hair was crimped
and tucked under a head band. She wore beaded jewelry such as a necklace
and a bracelet. Her costume made me feel like I was in that time period with
her, if I were to think of that roaring 20s or a flapper, she would be exactly

what I would envision and I know the director, Heaton did this on purpose.
She wanted her characters to stand and she did a very good job at doing so.
The next character I want to talk about is Puck, who is played by
Spencer Eaton. Puck is the right hand fairy to the fairy king, Oberon. Oberon
spots the couples fighting in the forest and orders Puck to cast a love spell on
the Athenian man. Doing what he is told, Puck casts spell on one of the
men, not knowing it was the wrong one. Puck is mischievous and conniving.
The first thing I noticed about him was his posture. He was low to the ground
and would almost hop from place to place. Primarily staying on his hands and
feet. This gave him a sense of something that would come from the forest,
less humanistic and more animalistic. Almost like a primate. The posture he
had dehumanized him, which would make sense considered he is a fairy.
Though he was lower to the ground, he still had a rigid, straight posture.
Giving him an air of curiosity to him.
Pucks character moved all through the stage, though it being small.
He made good use of his surrounding area, he would move from up close to
the audience to the top of the bridge, or from one side of the stage to the
other side to exit. He also would be very close to whoever he was speaking
to, he almost seemed to invade the other characters personal space, almost
as if he were confidence and too conceded to care that he made others
uncomfortable. Though his character had a small figure, he still made a large
presence. His amount of energy was unwavering throughout the entire
performance. He would bounce from spot to spot with explosive movement,

though there were moments where he would be sneakier and had gentler
and quieter movement, he still radiated energy.
All in all, I would gladly go see this performance, or one similar to it,
again. I truly enjoyed the energy behind each scene and I feel like I
understood the characters through their use of artistic elements. I enjoyed
the creativity of the director, Heaton, and her idea to modernize the play. For
me, that made is far more easy to follow along with and understand.