A Tahoma senior’s midsummer night of Shakespeare in the park
By TJ MARTINELL
Covington Reporter Reporter
August 9, 2012 · Updated 10:11 AM
Originally, the cast of a Shakespeare play was exclusively male, with young boys playing the girls parts.
In Maple Valley, Tahoma High senior Nico Lindblom is doing just the opposite — young girls in male roles — for her senior project, which is a production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Lindblom first got the idea of doing a Shakespeare play after she had decided to do something grandiose for her senior project rather than the bare minimum.
“I didn’t want to do anything that was average,” she said. “Lots of people redo their bathrooms or things like that. And I felt like redoing my bathroom was not big enough for my last year in high school, so I decided ‘Let’s choose something big.’”
Her problem, however, was finding something that fit her grandiose aspirations yet at the same time was practical and within her capacity.
“My first thought was ‘Let’s do a renaissance fair,’” she said. “That was way too big of a project. Too many liabilities issues. And so instead as sort of a spin off of a renaissance thing I said, ‘let’s do Shakespeare.’”
After deciding to take a stab at a production of one of the bard’s plays, Lindblom said she chose “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with the idea of the Lake Wilderness Arboretum in mind, which she felt worked as a natural background and provided the appropriate ambiance.
“It’s sort of whimsical so I felt it probably fit best,” she said. “I could have chosen “Hamlet,” but somebody told me it was probably not family friendly.”
After creating a proposal for the play production, Lindblom presented it to her mentor, who was impressed with the scope of her project.
The first dilemma she faced was casting the 17 character roles.
Originally Lindblom said she wanted to have a traveling Shakespeare troupe perform, but the costs were too high. She then turned to her high school, hoping to find students there who might be interested in participating in a Shakespeare play. She circulated posters for auditions and created a Facebook page to raise awareness.
The first day of auditions, however, brought five aspiring actors, while the second day had seven, a total of 12.
“I had to take them all because there aren’t enough people,” she said. “There are people who had to be double casted…So there’s quick changes back scene. It worked out okay in the end because…we designed the costumes so it would be easy (to change).”
While she attempted to fill the 17 parts, her second dilemma presented itself. Out of the 12 to audition, only one of them was a boy for a play that had four male parts, something she hadn’t anticipated.
“I had heard from (boys) ‘I’ll come, I’ll audition,’” she said. “I thought, ‘This will be perfect. We’ll have enough boys.’ But they never came. I thought of having another audition day but time was running out and I had to do the auditions.”
She ultimately cast girls in the male roles, using beards and pants to avoid confusion.
While juggling the role of director, producer and public relations manager, Lindblom said she received help from various people, including her mother, who has sown the costumes for the actresses. She also has had help from the Maple Valley Creative Arts Center, which allowed her to hold rehearsal on their stage, as well as Maple Valley playwright Ed Corrigan, who took his first stab at directing in June for his play, “David.”
“I was telling her, ‘It’s tough to get together a cast in Maple Valley,’ because she needed 13 or 14 people, something like that, and she did it,” Corrigan said. “She put it all together. After I talked to her initially I called her and asked her how she did and she said, ‘I got all it together.’ I had offered any kind of help or contacts to give to her, but she pretty much did it on her own. It’s pretty cool. It’s a big project.”
As far as education is concerned, Lindblom said she learned two very important lessons while completing her senior project.
“I cannot procrastinate and I have to be organized,” she said. “Because in the event I should procrastinate I start to get confused as to where I am in the project, and I’ve got to figure out what I’ve got to do next. I could procrastinate if I was fixing my bathroom, but I can’t do it with this, because it’s an ongoing process. I’ve got so many director notes, PR things I have to do, tons of rehearsal and things I have to keep trace of. When I left school I was totally excited to start the summer. Everybody else was so excited. I think the school year might be easier during the summer.”
The showing will be held at the Lake Wilderness Arboretum at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Aug. 25 and 2 p.m. on Aug. 26. Donations for the Lake Wilderness Arboretum Foundation and the Maple Valley Food Bank are encouraged.
The arboretum is located at 22520 SE 248th Maple Valley.
For more information, visit http://lakewildernessarboretum.org/.
Contact Covington Reporter Reporter TJ Martinell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-432-1209 ext. 5052.