Arts & Leisure

A rapturous dream at GWC

MAXIMUS DORSAY as Demetrius and Lizzy Legere as Helena in Golden West College’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Photo by Greg Park).

By Thom deMartino/Orange County Tribune

The bard beckons you to join his dream…

Playing through Sunday, May 7 at the Mainstage Theater at Golden West College is one of the most enduring and beloved of William Shakespeare plays, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Directed by Martie Ramm, “Dream” weaves the stories of loves promised and denied, passions inflamed and mischief made.

The wedding of Duke Theseus (Matthew Villescas) and the Lady Hippolyta (Lydia McRae) is nigh, but not everyone is fully of merriment: angry father Egeus (Jordan Marshall) has brought his daughter Hermia (Ariana Rubio) and her suitor, the ardent Demetrius (Maximus Dorsey) – and while her father demands she acquiesce to his choice of suitor, her heart in fact belongs to the smitten young Lysander (Tristan Lund).

Determined to thwart her father’s choice of marriage (or death!) by eloping with her beloved, Hermia shares her plan with her bestie Helena (Lizzy Legere), who is herself in love with Demetrius: and thinking to win his favor by spilling the beans on his would-be betrothed’s vanishing act, rushes to tell him of the young lovers’ flight to the forest.

There are more than a few current inhabitants of said wood for the time being, as the actors’ troupe led by the earnest and determined Peter Quince (Tyler Fewell) finds themselves rehearsing for the production they’ll stage to celebrate the Duke’s nuptials. And while most of the players are relatively milquetoast about their roles, the bombastic Nick Bottom (Salvatore Messina) is eager to begin chewing the scenery, even ready to steal other roles from his castmates.

Unbeknownst to the mere mortals scurrying about, there is magic afoot in this otherworldly forest, as the fairy folk congregate with their king and queen, Oberon (Jonathan West) and Titania (Clover King): but there is discord between the royal couple, and the king intends to enlist the help of the mischievous Robin Goodfellow, aka Puck (Ian Pedersen)  — and a love potion — to turn the tables on his wife… and perhaps a few unwitting, lovelorn humans as well?

While the brevity of the productions’ run at the GWC Mainstage Theater can challenge some theater-goers to attend some of their remarkable stagings, the quality of the shows such as “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” remain constant, making a weekend journey to the Huntington Beach college theater a treat.

There is a marvelous, arguably magical alchemy between the respective pairs of lovers, be they mortal or fae. Rubio as Hermia charms in her freshman outing on the GWC stage, while returning veteran Legere dazzles with her snappy recitations of the oft-challenging Shakespearian verse. Despite their differences, the struggle between the two romantic rivals of Dorsey’s Demetrius and Lund’s Lysander has a gruff, brotherly quality to it, even with the pair at odds.

King’s Titania has an ethereal, yet regal air about her, equaled by the gregarious persona of West’s Oberon. Ensemble characters such as the queen’s entourage and the varied actors of “Pyramus and Thisbe”, the play-within-a-play of the tale play their parts masterfully, adding still more color and vibrance to the show.

Still, one would be remiss to neglect mentioning the solid performances of both Messina and Pedersen. The manic energy of the former’s Nick Bottom is mesmerizing, and a marvelous counterpoint to the latter’s more relaxed and playful Puck.

An excellent retelling of one of the most iconic Shakespearian tales (in an abbreviated, single-act production), “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Golden West College is something to experience, treasure and remember, before that dream vanishes with the new days’ dawn.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Ariana Rubio, Lizzy Legere andn Ian Pedersen star in this immortal tale of love, mischief and magic. Playing through Sunday, May 7 at the Golden West College Mainstage Theater, 15751 Gothard St., Huntington Beach, CA 92647. Tickets available through the box office at 714-895-8150, x1 or at

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