Above: theater poster art by Amy Zhou ’23
This fall, the Upper School theater program is joyfully returning to in-person performing after last year’s virtual productions. To learn more about this fall’s process and the cast and crew’s take on Shakespeare’s beloved A Midsummer Night’s Dream, we interviewed Director of Visual and Performing Arts Stan Cahill, the master of Princeton Day School’s theater program.
So, you’ve decided to build a stage outside! What has the transition from indoor to outdoor been like for you, the cast and crew?
Cahill: The ability to work outside has given us the opportunity to return to a degree of normalcy and that feels amazing. We do have to contend with things like weather and, of course, the protocols that are in place to keep everyone safe, but we can actually move and work in a way that allows everyone to embrace the whole project.
Did the ability to work more openly together in an outdoor space influence your decision to move from the student-led play, Brainstorm, that was originally planned for this season?
It became apparent early on with Brainstorm, [a devised production that students were in the process of writing to be performed in the McAneny Theater], that we wouldn’t be allowed to remove the masks, which would really hinder the physicality and expression of many of the performances. So, I presented them with the option to pivot from Brainstorm to an outdoor production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I presented them with options—we went through the pros and cons of each situation, and it was almost unanimous that we take on Midsummer.
These kids work like athletes—the plays we do are very physical and the rehearsal process is long. Knowing that the students have been able to work to their fullest, safely and without masks, made the change 100% worth it.
What has been the biggest surprise of this production?
I am constantly reminded of the resiliency and tenacity of our student artists, particularly our young performing artists. Since February 2020, they have been asked to pivot at every turn. And while this may be frustrating, the ability to adapt to a shifting set of circumstances is at the core of arts education. In the case of our young performers, they have made this process look easy.
What is your biggest hope for the show?
Honestly, I'm just hoping this amazing weather holds out. If it doesn't, we'll find a way to pivot!
So, when is the show?
The show is open to members of the PDS community on Thursday (10/28) at 4:00pm, Friday (10/29) at 4pm and Saturday (10/31) at 1:00pm and 3:00pm at our pop-up outdoor location behind the dance studio. Tickets are free but required as seating is extremely limited. (To register for tickets, go to: https://pdstheater.ticketleap.com/mnd/). For those who can’t make it in person, we will be releasing a video of one of the performances shortly after the production ends!
Note: For those who have tickets, the outdoor theater has about 70 seats and there is room for about 30 more on the small, grassy slopes on two sides of the theater. Bring a blanket to sit on! This all ages performance will last one hour.
Cast and Crew
Assistant Director: Tyanna Miller ’22
Stage Manager: Sanjana Paramesh ’22
Assistant Stage Manager: Julia McInnes ’24
Set Design: Rachel Waters
Costumes: Christine Johnson
Choreography: Ann Robideaux, Laurel Masciantonio '23
Music: Laurel Masciantonio ’23
Sound Board: Christian Mayer ’22
Stage Combat: Jonathan Martin
Vocal Coaching: Rebecca Simon
Wardrobe Manager: Reed Dillon ’23
Crew: Eleanor Ding ’22, Humzah Ladiwala ’25, Ben Maschler ’23, Haley Schragger ’23, Allison Zhang ’24
Artwork: Amy Zhou ’23
Cast (in alphabetical order):
Laney Alvarado ’25: Hippolyta, Fairy
Anushka Bhagavathula ’23: Titania
Michael Carroll ’22: Flute
Harrison Fehn ’22: Oberon
Sophia Glasgold ’22: Quince, Fairy
Neha Kalra ’22: Lysander
Zoe Latanision ’23: Theseus, Fairy
Joe Lippman ’22: Demetrius
Laurel Masciantonio ’23: Starveling, Fairy
Ava Mattson ’22: Hermia
Alex McInnes ’23: Snug, Philostrate
Tyler Nelson ’24: Puck
Yael Tuckman ’22: Helena
Veronica Vogelman ’22: Snout
Andre Williams ’22: Bottom
Lily Zebrauskas ’25
Noor Choudhury ’25
Enjoy this Flickr album of our PDS thespians hard at work during a recent outdoor rehearsal!
Photos taken by Monica McInnes, production poster artwork by Amy Zhou ’23