by Susan O’Neill
Nearly half of the small cast of a locally produced play this summer share something in commonâ€”they are either Kaneland High School students or Kaneland alumni.
Elburn resident Lynn Meredith said she was surprised to find so many actors from Kaneland at the audition she went to for Shakespeare on Clark’s production of â€œA Midsummer Night’s Dream.â€
Meredith majored in theatre at Illinois State University after graduating from Kaneland High School. She was a cast member of the Chicagoland children’s theatre group Alphabet Soup during the 1990s, and continued her acting career when she lived in Cincinnati.
However, since she moved back to Elburn several years ago, she had not been on the stage.
When she saw the notice for auditions for the Batavia-based summer theatre production, she decided on a whim to try out. Meredith said she had been trained in Shakespeare, and had always wanted to try acting in a Shakespeare role.
She said that â€œA Midsummer Night’s Dreamâ€ is one of the bard’s lighter plays, with a fairly simple plot. She plays Titania, the Queen of the Fairies.
â€œThe costumes are gorgeous,â€ she said. â€œAs a fairy, I get to wear really fun things.â€
She said the cast, although young, is very talented and the actors have a good grasp of what could be seen as difficult.
â€œI’ve been really pleased with how it’s turned out,â€ she said. â€œIt’s a good production.â€
Bryan Renaud, one of her fellow actors, graduated from Kaneland High School this year. Renaud, who soon turns 18, has been acting since he was seven years old, when he appeared in a Waubonsee Community College staging of â€œThe Best Christmas Pageant Ever.â€
Renaud had roles in a number of plays while at Kaneland High School, including â€œAs You Like Itâ€ last fall. He played Lumiere, a major role in â€œBeauty and the Beast,â€ staged at the high school this spring.
He has acted with the First Street Playhouse and performed in a number of Shakespeare on Clark productions.
Renaud has a lead role in this summer’s performance and plans to attend North Central College in the fall, where he will major in theatre performance.
â€œActing is my focus,â€ he said. â€œThis is what I need to be doing.â€
The outdoor summer theatre is sponsored through a partnership of All Dressed Up Costumes, a costume rental company, and Batavia MainStreet.
All Dressed Up Costumes owner Julane Sullivan is also the director. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the summer theatre offering staged at Clark Island.
â€œA Midsummer Night’s Dreamâ€ Staged on Clark Island in Batavia
7 p.m. on Friday, July 31
and Saturday, Aug. 1
6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 2
(75-minute act; no intermissions)
Cast includes Kaneland alumni
Photo: The Kaneland area is well-represented in a production of â€œA Midsummer Night’s Dreamâ€ for Shakespeare on Clark on Clark Island in Batavia. Many of the 18 members of the cast are current students of Kaneland or alumni. Pictured are some of the Kaneland students and alumni that are performing, including Nikki Prusinski, Bryan Renaud, Ben Tennant and Kasey Ostarello (Dan Bach of Batavia also pictured). The final performances of the summer are at 7 p.m. Friday, July 31, Saturday, Aug. 1, and at 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2. Courtesy Photo