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Review: BFA students shine in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

The production ran Friday through Sunday in the Stoll Thrust Theatre.
Image by Heather Hanson Photography (courtesy)
The classic Shakespearean play follows multiple plot points, like a conflict between four lovers and a wedding between Theseus and Hippolyta. The performance lasted roughly two and a half hours total.

Members of the University of Minnesota Bachelor of Fine Arts Actor Training Program company of 2026 put on a whimsical and hilarious performance of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” over the weekend.

The classic Shakespearean play follows multiple plot points, including a conflict between four lovers, a wedding between royals Theseus and Hippolyta, a group of laborers trying to put on a play and fairies that manipulate the humans. 

To preface, I’ve seen multiple showings of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” from high school to professional levels of theater, but this production was one of my favorites I’ve ever seen. 

The set design was simple yet effective, the costumes and props were fun and all the actors, many of whom had to play multiple characters, did a phenomenal job in their roles.

Before the show started, the actors performed several prepared songs for the audience, all revolving around the theme of love. Some of the songs were “I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)” from Disney’s “Hercules,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love” recorded by Elvis Presley and “Fly Me to the Moon” written by composer Bart Howard. 

The singing performances were light-hearted and sounded great and I appreciated they gave the audience something to enjoy while waiting for the show to begin. With many of the songs accompanied by an upright bass, saxophone or piano, I thought this opening was also a unique way to show off the other talents of the company. 

One of my favorite aspects of the play was the physicality involved. 

On opposite ends of the stage sat two trampolines that the actors frequently used to either bounce onto a higher platform or off the balcony in the theater. This amusing approach to the stage layout brought a lot of life to the action of the show, and it was something I had never seen done before. 

Other physical aspects I enjoyed from the show included the dance between Matthew Smith and Madeleine McKenney (who was in pointe shoes!) in one of the last scenes, the fights between the two couples, and the laborers’ “play within a play” performance about Pyramus and Thisbe, two forbidden lovers. 

The laborers were portrayed by Aidan Folvag, Elisheva Scheuer, Rayyan Khan, Sophia White, Catherine Maki, and McKenney, and their performances were the standout of the entire play. The group was hilarious as their characters attempted to put on a moving play for the royalty, and I thought each actor was perfect in their respective roles. 

Individually, my favorite actor was Scheuer, who played Egeus and Nick Bottom. I can’t remember the last time I’ve laughed as hard at a performance in a show, and the audience seemed to agree. Scheuer’s voices, general physicality and comedic timing of her characters made her a highlight of the entire play. 

Overall, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was a brilliant addition to the University’s theater season for this year, thanks to stellar performances by the actors.

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