Shakespeare meets Grand Canyon?

This weekend is your last chance to see Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” presented by Grand Canyon University. It’s being performed tonight, Feb. 18, at 7:30pm and tomorrow, Feb. 19, at 2pm. The CGU production, directed by GCU alumnus and faculty member Michael Kary, is being performed as part of the Ethington Theatre’s 57th season.

Michael Kary (front right) earned an Arizoni Award for best actor in a musical for CGU's "The Pirates of Penzance" during the 2010-2011 season

Kary notes that Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be seen and heard rather than merely read. “What I like about this play,” says Kary, “is what I like about all of Shakespeare’s work.” Kary shares in his director’s note for the program that there are “layer and layers of themes to sift through.” On the surface, of course, is love. Also the virtues and pitfalls of marriage.

But Kary says he tried to go deeper into the work. “One of the great things the dream shows us,” reflects Kary, “is what happens when good things become ultimate things.” Look closely, he says, and you’ll see a “production full of decent people behaving badly.”

Seems they’ve “let things like financial security, the care of a child, the out-of-reach love object, and yes, even true love itself become greater than the good things they were created to be.” They become gods, says Kary. “And a created god is a dangerous thing.”

Kary hopes the GCU production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will “spur us on to truly connect with the people around us, or offer us a warning about obsession.” For some, I suspect, it’ll serve only as a reminder that “the course of true love never did run smooth.”

CGU performed "Amahl and the Night Visitors" last December

The next Ethington Theatre production, “The Boy Friend” by Sandy Wilson, runs April 13-15 and 20-22. It’s a romantic spoof, set in the 1920s, which details the misadventures of a young girl at a prim and proper school who wants a boyfriend so badly that she make one up. Like “Midsummer,” it promises plenty of misunderstandings and mistaken identities.

The GCU College of Fine Arts and Production also offers film, dance and music events throughout the year — some held at off-campus venues. Both their “Opera and Broadway Concert” (Feb. 24) and “Mendelssohn’s Elijah” (April 27) are being performed at the First Southern Baptist Church of Phoenix.

The GCU “Student Spotlight” featuring dance works takes place March 14 in the Sanctuary Room of the GCU Recreation Center, and the “Spring Dance Concert” takes place April 27 & 28 at the Ethington Theatre. The GCU “Student Film Festival” takes place this Tuesday night, Feb. 21.

Grand Canyon University is also home to the Grand Canyon University Arena, which presents various athletic events, concerts, speakers and more. Click here to learn more.

— Lynn

Note: The Utah Shakespeare Festival begins Arizona tours of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on Feb. 21. Click here to read their study guide for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” here to read their study guide for “The Boy Friend” and here to see tour dates and locations.

Coming up: Beware the green elixer

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