Students take new PAC stage for production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’


Symmone Gauer, Reporter

With fairies, marriages, a quartet of lovers, some mischief and dreams, the students of South Dakota State University’s Theatre Department prepare for its debut on the brand-new stage in the Performing Arts Center. 

Director J.D. Ackman said that he was in SDSU’s 1978 production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and that he had very good memories of the show.

Several cast members said the audience shouldn’t be put off by Shakespeare. They say the play is easy to follow and is relatable. Alex Garcia, a senior theatre major, said it’s “goofy but with heightened language,” and believes this adds to the humor. 

“Come with an open ear,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 

Garcia plays Lysander, one of the four lovers manipulated by the fairy, Puck. Both on and off stage, the students said they have great dynamics with one another. 

“We all work together really well,” said Sara Broad, a freshman mechanical engineering major. 

Jacob Womack, a junior speech education major, plays a mechanical, or actor, named Nick Bottom, whose head is transformed into a donkey. 

“For once I get to overreact,” he said. He also said the characters are over-the-top and loves that it pushes him to go further. 

Bradley Herrmann, a sophomore theatre major, and Braden Paulsen, a junior music education and theatre major, discussed their character dynamic. Herrmann, who plays the free-spirited Puck, says it’s like a father-son relationship. 

“I kind of have to reel him in, and yet I find joy in it,” said Paulsen, who plays King Oberon. Oberon is always looking out for Puck, even when Puck stirs up trouble.

Students began practice at the tail-end of February and have rehearsed about three hours each day. 

According to Ackman, most of the set was constructed by students, who also helped with costumes and makeup. 

“They really take ownership,” he said.

Cast members tried on their costumes for the first time on April 1. 

“It’s a bit daunting,” said Herrmann, whose character goes shirtless. 

Though not something he’s used to, Herrmann says he loves his costume and believes it really “lends to the character.”

When asked about performing in the new theatre, fifth-year senior Taylor Blocker, who plays the role of Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, said it was “bittersweet,” but she feels lucky to be part of it since she is graduating this semester. 

Ackman said he’s excited for the possibilities the new theatre presents. 

“Everyone wants a taste of this space right now,” he said. 

Ackman hopes to fill the new Performing Arts Center at this weekend’s performances.

Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” performs only once Sunday, April 14 at 2 p.m. due to inclement weather conditions.

Tickets are free to SDSU students with an ID. Adults are $20 and non SDSU students are $13. Box office hours are 12-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, or tickets can be purchased on SDSU’s website.