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Fresno State students rehearse Fresno State University Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” directed by Kathleen McKinley, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015. The play opens Friday, Oct. 30, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. in the Dennis and Cheryl Woods Theatre. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)

A supernatural tale of forbidden lovers

The University Theatre is presenting a contemporary version of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” opens Friday.

Kathleen McKinley, theater arts professor and director selected “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” because its magic and enchantment themes go well with the Halloween season.

“It’s a show that really lends itself to the fun of the Halloween season, to the scariness, a little bit of the Halloween season,” McKinley said.

The play is about two young couples who are forced into an arranged marriage and then fall in love with other people their parents disapprove of.

“‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ captures a single, fantastical night in an enchanted forest, where unearthly forces toy with love and its many complications,” McKinley said.

The forbidden lovers escape and soon end up getting lost in an enchanted forest filled with vampires and undead characters.

Additionally, there is a battle going on between the king and the queen of these dark forest creatures and the lovers get caught up in the midst of the conflict.

“The lovers lose all of their clothing. It’s all fueled by a frenzy of desire and thematically. The play is really about how love makes us insane, even without magic spells,” McKinley said. “But when you get put under a magic spell, then you really act crazy absolutely crazy and that’s what the play is about.”

McKinley said Shakespeare plays are presented on campus at least every two years.

McKinley said this play was chosen because Shakespeare productions have great design and large casting opportunities.

Shakespeare is considered by many to be one of the world’s greatest playwrights so his productions are very challenging; they require actors to analyze every word they are saying so that they can make the play exciting and acceptable to the contemporary audience, she added.

“There’s never any reason not to do it and we look forward to include Shakespeare every year,” McKinley said.

She also said the play serves the training of actors in the theater arts department who need experience analyzing and performing Shakespeare.

McKinley said this is the largest show for this year. There is a cast of almost 26 students for it. Another 20 students are involved in building the set, costumes, working as crew, stage managers and assistant designers.

Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 30 to Oct. 31 and Nov. 3 to Nov. 7. There will be a matinee showing on Nov. 1 at 2 p.m.. Tickets can be purchased at the box office.

Tickets are $17 for adults; $15 for Fresno State faculty, staff, alumni and military; and $10 for students. Box office hours are from noon to 4 p.m. weekdays and one hour before each performance.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” contains mild sexual humor.