Youth theater: 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

San Ramon students among performers in Shakespeare's beloved comedy

Civic Arts Stage Company, in partnership with the Bay Area Children's Theatre (BACT), is presenting "A Midsummer Night's Dream," one of Shakespeare's most staged and most beloved comedies, featuring young Tri-Valley actors at the Firehouse Arts Center in Pleasanton from Friday through March 20.

"Shakespearean comedies are a perfect vehicle for teaching young people the art of storytelling through theater, including voice and speech, how to interpret text, and performance skills," BACT's Rebecca Posamentier said.

The plot has the Duke of Athens marrying his true love, and the local tradesmen attempting, with very poor results, to rehearse for a play to present at the festivities. In the meantime, four young Athenians pursue their lovers in a "tragicomedy" of errors. Oberon and Titania (king and queen of the fairies) mess with everybody's plans, including each other's, all while troublemaker Puck, Oberon's "shrewd and knavish sprite," throws his own hijinks into the mix.

As is the tradition with Civic Arts Stage Company, the actors are split into two casts -- for this production tagged the "Moon Cast" and the "Forest Cast."

The 47 young cast members, ages 9 to 17, are from throughout the Tri-Valley area, with 17 schools represented: Amador Valley and Livermore high schools; Alisal, Donlon, Fairlands, Mohr and Walnut Grove elementary schools; and Gale Ranch, Harvest Park, Pine Valley, Pleasanton and Hart middle schools. Comprehensive schools include Joe Michell K-8, Sunol Glen K-8, Valley Christian K-12, Valley Montessori K-8 and Venture School.

The professional production team includes director Bob Shryock, stage manager Zach Goldberg, props master Lizabeth Stanley, costume designer Patricia Austin and lighting designer Cassie Barnes.

The show is at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $12-$18; child or senior, $7-$13. Go to, call 931-4848 or purchase at the theater box office, 4444 Railroad Ave.

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