When Elle Backus-Horton was first cast as Titania the fairy queen in the upcoming production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, she found the Shakespearean language a little challenging to learn.
“At first I didn’t understand the lines, but then I would look up some of the words and figure out what they meant,” said the 12-year-old Nelsonite, who will be performing at the Capitol from June 4 to 6.
“It was hard at first, but now I’ve got them all memorized. It’s not as hard as some people think. It’s just a different way of talking from hundreds of years ago, and it’s beautiful.”
Horton said their director Jeff Forst devoted an entire rehearsal to helping the actors translate the unfamiliar syntax, and to come up with creative ways to demonstrate physically what they’re saying.
And when asked by the Star whether she had a favourite line from the show, Backus-Horton had one at the ready: “Perchance till after Theseus’ wedding day, if you will patiently dance in our round and see our moonlight revels, go with us. If not, shun me and I will spare your haunts.”
“I really like that. It just sounds pretty,” she said.
Backus-Horton said she has a whole new appreciation for the Bard’s work since taking on this role, and as she worked her way through the rehearsal process—perfecting her regal posture and parading across stage in beautiful gowns—she started to really feel like a queen.
“I think I’m a good queen,” she said. “But sometimes I get really mad and things go wrong.”
Ten-year-old Sylvia Hardy, who plays Puck, said the show is so energetic that it will be entertaining whether you understand the dialogue or not.
“We’re going to act out everything we’re saying,” she said, noting that when she delivers the line “I go, I go, look how I go. Swifter than arrow from the Tartar’s bow”, she yanks back her arm and mimics shooting a bow and arrow.
Hardy loves her role because of the physical freedom it affords her.
“Oberon’s the king of the castle and I’m the dirty rascal. I get to crawl around on all fours and sometimes in the middle of a scene I can just flop down on the floor and lay down. It gets pretty silly.”
This is a role perfectly suited for Hardy, who has previously played a jester in Twelfth Night and Loki in a recent school production.
The cast also features 12-year-old Luther Perry, who will play Oberon the fairy king.
“His emotions really change radically over the course of the play. One scene he’s really happy because he thinks Puck did the right thing, but then he gets really mad too,” he said.
Perry said he’s been enthusiastically inviting everyone to come see the production.
“From what I’ve seen, it’s thoroughly entertaining to watch. Even if I wasn’t playing Oberon I would still go, buy tons of tickets for my friends and go see it because the play is just perfect.”
Tickets for the show are $21 for adults and $16 for students and seniors. The show is at 7: 30 p.m.
For further theatrical information visit forstmedia.ca. For tickets visit capitoltheatre.bc.ca or call (250) 352-6363.