It’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Charter School

At rehearsal, from left: Sarah Chickering as Hermina, Morgan Taylor as Helena, and Kyra Whalen as Lysander. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Mix up some kindergarten and fourth grade fairies, young lovers chasing each other through the forest, a royal wedding, a man with a donkey’s head, impish Puck wreaking havoc, and the director of the school as a Duke threatening the ill-behaved and you have the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School’s version of William Shakespeare’s comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The play will be performed three times at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury this weekend: Friday, March, 30 at 7 pm and Saturday, March 31, at 2 pm and again at 7 pm.

Charter School third and fourth grade teaching assistant and drama teacher Treather Gassmann has reduced the length of the Shakespeare classic from its original two-hour plus length to about one and a quarter hours and has worked to get the entire school involved.

The cast includes 17 students from kindergarteners to third graders through the high school grades and four teachers, including Bob Moore, the school director. “The student actors have really enjoyed having the teachers involved, especially Mr. Moore,” who plays the authoritative Theseus, Duke of Athens, said Ms. Gassmann.

The play is done in contemporary costumes except for the fairies who, according to Ms. Gassmann, wear David Bowie-Ziggy Stardust influenced clothes. Not wanting to give anything away, Ms. Gassmann said it will be obvious which town’s style most of the costumes were influenced by.

The play opens with Theseus, Duke of Athens, preparing for his wedding. Egeus complains to Theseus that his daughter Hermia refuses to marry Demetrius. When Hermia is given the choice between marriage to Demetrius or life as a nun, she and her true love, Lysander, flee into the forest. Demetrius follows them; and Helena, who loves Demetrius, follows him. Also in the forest are Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies, at odds with one another. The complications, the comedy, and the fun are non-stop.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare, abridged by Treather Gassmann, 7 pm on Friday, March 30; 2 and 7 pm on Saturday, March 31, Grange Hall, West Tisbury. $8; $5 for students and seniors; $20 for families. For more information, contact the school at 508-693-9900 or Treather Gassmann at