San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in Alajuela

Shakespeare never envisioned his heroes on roller skates, or, indeed, his ladies in jeans and sleeveless tops. But this is today’s generation playing the 16th-century bard’s play based in ancient Greece. And the college-student cast assured us that proper costumes and props would be ready when the play was.

‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is not the easiest drama to follow, even in your own language, what with fairies, a play within a play and that repugnant Puck passing out donkey heads. But the theater students at the Alajuela College Prep School (CUNA), northwest of San José, plan a lively and competent show set for the first two weekends in August in the school’s auditorium.

Working with director Marco Araya, whose Carpe Diem Theater has delighted audiences with musicals, drama and spectacles, CUNA now offers a course in acting for stage, TV and film, with 200 students enrolled in different classes, 40 of whom take this dreamy play written during the Renaissance and put it on a modern stage sans curtain and wings.

The performance is in Spanish with a few modifications, according to Araya, and this is their first production together. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) wrote it in bygone English for bygone times, but the humor of the play is still felt.

For those who have forgotten their English Lit, the action is set in ancient Athens in the woods under a full moon. Duke Theseus is planning his wedding when one of his subjects comes to report that his daughter Hermia refuses to marry his choice Demetrius because she is in love with Lysander. But her best friend Helena loves Demetrius, who shuns her.

They all run away into the woods, which are fraught with moonlight, fairies, elves and a group of workmen who are themselves planning a play for the duke. Then comes Puck, armed with flower juice, to anoint the eyes of all the sleeping lovers who then wake up and fall in love with the wrong people.

But all’s well that ends well, and, measure for measure, it’s good entertainment.

Show times are Aug. 4 and 11 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 5 and 12 at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets cost ¢2,000 (about $4) at the door, or call 442-7773 for reservations.

CUNA is one block from Calle Ancha on the road to El Roble-Guácima, behind the big Harpe store in Alajuela. The auditorium is in building A near the front. Free, protected parking is available on campus. For a preview of the play, see


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