Shakespeare Festival comes to Smith Courtyard

[Photo courtesy of Christian Cannon] CBU students Joshua Hoefling, Leah Moore, Haley Mulder, Jacob Gomez, Katie Shaw, Kiana Miskel, Kelsey Greene and Sarah Carol Hughes were joined by local actor Garrett Botts when performing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

California Baptist University held its first Shakespeare Festival June 3 through 5 and 8 through 12, showcasing performances of “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Although it was held separately from the university’s theater arts program, the June Courtyard Shakespeare Festival is very involved in CBU drama. The festival took to an outside stage to mimic the original intent of Shakespeare. It included performances by students, alumni and other local actors.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was directed by Garret Replogle, Wallace Theatre shop foreman, and “Romeo and Juliet” was directed by Frank Mihelich, assistant professor of theater.

Mihelich said it was through the ideas of Replogle that this festival came to life.

“(Replogle) brought it to Lee Lyons, the director of the CBU theater program,” Mihelich said. “(Lyons) loved the idea and then brought the idea to the staff and faculty of the CBU theater program.”

To prepare for the festival, auditions were held for actors from the Inland Empire, including CBU students.

Once the actors were picked, they rehearsed all of May and made sure the performances were not on the same nights so an actor could perform in both shows.

Kiana Miskel, 2016 alumna with a bachelor of arts in theater, has always enjoyed Shakespeare. She acted as a sword fighter in “Romeo and Juliet” and portrayed Quince in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“I have always had a heart for Shakespeare, so when I found out CBU would be doing a Shakespeare festival, I knew I wanted to be involved in any way,” Miskel said. “I loved being able to work with these incredible people on a project I knew would be one for the CBU history.”

Each show had its own take on the original plays and ran over two weeks with four performances each.

“Both productions had their own concept that was stuck to over the course of the run,” Mihelich said. “‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ was set in a run-down carnival in the 1930s and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was set in Elizabethan England.”

Miskel added that everyone who helped worked tirelessly to make the show the best it could be.

“I can’t wait to see what happens in the future with this  festival,” Miskel said.

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