Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is taking on new life in the Lory Student Center Theater this weekend. The play will be performed in Japanese by Japanese-language students. There will, however, be subtitles for non-speakers.
This prospect may seem daunting for viewers, but director Mako Beecken, a Japanese instructor at CSU, said he believes the show will present viewers with something new and rewarding.
“This show will be something they’ve never seen before, and probably will never see in the future either,” she said. “They probably don’t know what to expect, but they can expect it to be outstanding and amazing.”
The show draws upon three classifications of traditional Japanese theater: Kabuki, Noh and Kyogen. It also features traditional costumes and modern music composed and performed by Beecken’s son onstage rather than in the pit.
“It’s a really essential part. All elements are necessary, music and dance are necessary on the stage, and it creates a dynamic environment,” Beecken said.
This is just one difference from Western theater. Another difference is the rigidity with which a play is interpreted, said Caitlyn Pleason, an actress in the play and a sophomore international studies major.
She is only in her second year of Japanese classes, but she plays one of the central roles in the show.
“Japanese theater is very specific, traditional and structured. There’s not a lot of room for individual interpretation,” she said, adding that going to a traditional Japanese play is like watching a favorite Disney movie; you know the storyline and watch to see it the same show each time.
This difference in play interpretation is just one aspect of cultural and linguistic appreciation the performers hope to provide for the audience.
“We wanted to be able to expose the public and student body to a language that most people don’t even know what it sounds like,” Pleason said.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be performed in the Lory Student Center Theater Dec. 5 and 7 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available in the CSU box office and cost $3 for students and $6 for non-students.
Staff writer Rachel Survil can be reached at email@example.com