The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Shakespeare play to raise money for new Center of Arts

‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ showing 2 p.m. Aug. 26 and 27 at Gladish Courtyard
Elijah Dereta, Jonah Bates and Kami Cornwall rehearsing for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The Pullman Gladish Community and Cultural Center is putting on Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to fundraise for its new Center for the Arts.

Kristin Lincoln, Center of the Arts executive director, said a new company, The Gladish Players, will reside under the new center.

Every penny spent on the show goes toward building the Center for the Arts, Lincoln said. There is a $10 million goal, with $1.4 million raised as of Aug. 15.

“Every penny we bring in is obviously really important for us … to help us build this Center for the Arts that we need so badly,” she said.

Actor Jonah Bates, who plays Lysander, said “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is set in Athens and involves two pairs of lovers who eventually cause a love triangle.

“Everybody falls in love with the wrong person or the right person at the wrong time and then they fight,” Bates said.

Director Sam Opdahl said the original script for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was long, as most Shakespeare plays are.

The language can be difficult to listen to for such long periods of time, so Opdahl said she cut as much as she could without losing the point of the story. The play will now run at about two hours with an intermission.

The show has been in the works since January, which was when Opdahl had started to conceptualize her adaptation, including what she felt did or did not speak as much to today’s world, she said.

Opdahl said the center chose to do “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” because Shakespeare is not seen a lot in the area and some people might find it daunting, which could scare local theaters from working on Shakespeare.

But Opdahl said she loved the idea of getting to work on a classic script that leaves room for interpretation, as well as room to play with things.

“I was interested in ‘Midsummer’ because I’ve always enjoyed the play,” she said. “It’s just been this weird, hilarious, crazy adventure.”

Lincoln said the Cultural Center wanted to establish a Shakespeare performance every year and utilize its beautiful courtyard.

“We wanted to start with the really well-known ones and … easy ones,” she said. “‘Midsummer’ is such an approachable Shakespeare. It’s not deep, it’s silly all the way around and it’s just fun, so it became a really good show to kick us off.”

Bates said he has done theater for most of his life, but took a break after going into the Marines. But, he ended up at WSU for school and started doing theater in the STAGE program.

He was the president of the STAGE program last semester, and one of his execs reached out to him because of falling out of the original Lysander cast, he said. He auditioned and got the role.

Actor Elijah Dereta, who plays Demetrius, said this is his first-ever role in a theater production, and he auditioned for his five-year-old son.

He always wanted to get involved in community theater, but his son showed interest in theater and felt uncomfortable trying it out, Dereta said.

“I ended up signing up for this play and auditioning so that I can show him that you can do it at any point in time,” he said. “Hopefully if he sees me up there, he’ll be a little more comfortable doing it on his own.”

Actor Kami Cornwall, who plays Helena, said at some point, her character gets offended and thinks everyone is making fun of her when they are not, and all of a sudden, everyone is in love with the character.

“It gets a little ugly, and we get a little feisty with each other,” Cornwall said.

Actor Jess Cross, who plays Hermia, enjoys being able to overdo emotions onstage, which is necessary in a Shakespeare play because of the harder language.

“The necessary over-emoting is just so fun,” Cross said. “We really want to drive home the point … we’re saying weird words, but we’re angry. It’s fun.”

The play is at 2 p.m. Aug. 26 and 27 at the Gladish Center courtyard, and tickets are being sold for $20. Tickets and more information can be found on the Gladish Community Center website.

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About the Contributor
Alexandria started working for the Evergreen in October 2020 as a news reporter and eventually hopped around to the roots/life, opinion and culture sections. She was a copy editor for three semesters beginning in January 2021 and was the Life editor in fall 2022. She was the copy chief for the summer and fall 2023 semesters, and is currently the editor-in-chief for the spring 2024 semester. She is from Tri-Cities, WA, and is always writing in her free time.