On the lawn outside Rutland’s Courcelle Building last week, a dozen or so students in grades 7 through 12 were in costume ready to rehearse a scene from William Shakespeare’s fantasy-comedy “A Midsummer Night's Dream.” It’s one of his most popular plays and it’s Rutland Youth Theatre’s next production. The traveling show will pop up in towns across south-central Vermont beginning Thursday through Aug. 4. “That’s the theme for Shakespeare; every year it travels all over, that’s what’s so special about it,” said stage manager Olivia Lane, 19. “We get in the vans and just go all over the place. It’s a blast.” The cast is relatively small this year. “Last year we had 22,” Lane said. “But a lot of people are working this summer. “But we have a solid group every year,” she added. “It’s the Shakespeare crew, they come back every year. A lot of people that are not very musical or don’t like singing will do Shakespeare.” Both Lane and director Andy Freeman, 20, are RYT alums, which adds a certain dynamic to the shows. “We always have a really great time, because Andy and I are both so young and have grown up through the program, so we have this friendly rapport with all the actors,” Lane said. “We have a really good relationship with them. We have a lot of fun in rehearsal, maybe not very productive sometimes, but it’s always a blast. “We’re trying to get (the actors) to break out of their box right now because it’s a comic-heavy show,” she said. “We’re trying to do a lot of physicality.” Long Trail School student Isa Blankenbaker, 15, was cast in the role of Puck, a comic and supernatural character Shakespeare introduces as the “merry wanderer of the night.” “We do character bios we write first-person, and do background that’s not directly stated,” Blankenbaker said about getting into the character. “Puck is honestly the character I’ve dreamed of playing for a while.” “We started rehearsals in May and have had a ton of conflicts,” Lane said. “I’ve never had the full cast, and we won’t have a full cast until the very first (full) rehearsal, which is incredibly nerve-wracking. But we’ll be able to pull it together. It always somehow gels together at the last minute. The magic of theater.” Rutland Youth Theatre Rutland Youth Theatre presents Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”:
- Thursday, July 26: Brandon – In the Gardens at The Lilac Inn, 7 p.m.
- Friday, July 27: Rutland – Gazebo at Godnick Adult Center, 7 p.m.
- Saturday, July 28: Mount Holly – Belmont Village Green, 2 p.m.
- Saturday, July 28: West Rutland – West Rutland Town Hall, 7 p.m.
- Sunday, July 29: Rutland – On the field at Giorgetti Park, 2 p.m.
- Monday, July 30: Springfield – Springfield Cinema Theatre, 7 p.m.
- Tuesday, July 31: Rutland – Community Room at the Maples (selected scenes), 6:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, Aug. 1: Rutland – Community Room at The Gables (selected scenes), 6:30 p.m.
- Friday, Aug. 3: Wallingford – Wallingford Town Hall, 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Aug. 4: Wells – The Larson Farm, 69 South St., 7 p.m.
Admission is free (donations accepted); call 802-591-0041, or go online to www.rutlandrec.com/theatre.