University presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream ­ with marionettes

University presents A Midsummer Night's Dream � with marionettes When The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre presents William Shakespeare's delightful comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream, Dec. 12-14, audiences will have the unique opportunity to see the action told by marionettes, the miniature characters whose limbs are controlled by the magic of puppeteers.

Performances are Dec. 12 at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., Dec. 13 at 1 and 7 p.m. and Dec. 14 at 11 a.m. in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre in the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts.

A Midsummer Night's Dream is perhaps the best loved of Shakespeare's plays. It brings together aristocrats, their workers, and fairies in a wood outside Athens. When Egeus denies his daughter Hermia permission to marry Lysander, they and their friends, Helena and Demetrius, escape to the forest.

The magic-filled forest is ruled by Oberon, Titania and the trickster Puck. Puck delights in placing spells on the lovers and Nick Bottom, a weaver, who is preparing (along with a rowdy group of mechanicals) a crude but hilarious play to be performed at court. Because the forest represents the world of the dream, anything can and does happen under the light of the moon and in the shadows of the trees.

Doug Strich, a student who trained in puppetry at The Paper Moon Theatre in New Jersey, has adapted Shakespeare's classic to a one-hour version for marionettes. He directs the action and has designed the puppets and costumes.

Past productions with marionettes under his leadership at the university include A Christmas Carol and Rumpelstiltskin.

A Midsummer Night's Dream is an enduring tale of love, magic and dreams that is recommended for ages 8 and above.

General admission tickets are $2. Reservations can be made by calling the University Theatre box office at (605) 677-5400. Box office hours are noon to 5 p.m. beginning Monday, Dec. 9.

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