DALLAS -- Carrie Hurley isn't used to playing in mud, but that all changed a few weeks ago.

She got to swim in a pond and throw mud at her fellow fairies.

"We just had some basic fairy mud wrestling," Hurley said.

Although her mud experience was a lot of fun, she had an alternative purpose:

To prepare for the play.

Hurley, a junior at Dallas High School, will be playing the role of the fairy Peace Blossom in the upcoming high school production of William Shakespeare's "A Midsummers Night Dream."

Along with the other fairies from the cast, Hurley endured a day of creeping through the woods and swimming in mud in order to find her character and get in tune with the down to earth nature of the fairies.

Blair Cromwell, the director of the play and theater teacher at the high school, said that a lot of work has been put in to the play, and she is very excited about doing it.

"The play has a big cast and a lot of opportunities for different kinds of actors who do a lot of different things, like comedy, drama, music, and movement," Cromwell said.

Cromwell chose to do the play because she wanted to do something that would allow her to incorporate the elements of a musical, since they weren't able to put one on due to budget cuts.

She said that "A Midsummers Night Dream" allowed for a more elaborate set and even the opportunity to incorporate some period music.

The play will open Nov. 1. The cast is busy preparing for opening day.

"I think things are going together really well," Lauren Slyh, who plays Helena, said. "The whole thing is a play within a play and now we are getting to put a lot of the elements together."

Slyh plays in the group of the lovers, as the play is broken into three groups of lovers, fairies, and actors. She will be acting opposite Brian Mosher who plays Demitrius. Although she is comfortable in her role, Slyh is a little worried about one scene.

"Brian and I have to do our kiss that we've only practiced once, and that is the scariest thing for me."

Mosher also feels that the playing is coming together well, after a few bumps in the road.

"The intensity of the Shakespearean dialect was a barrier at first, but only for a short time."

During one of their early rehearsals the cast went over their scripts and looked up anything that they didn't understand so they would be able to feel comfortable with their lines.

"I think a lot of the verse is really well spoken and it is very easy to understand what people are saying," Cromwell said.

"And for the people who are verse impaired in the audience, the play is going to be visually very interesting, there are really a lot of neat things in it."

The cast and crew have spent hours putting together a set that entails a moon made of fishing line and broken up pieces of CDs that they collected from various vendors.

"We have some run throughs left and that should better the play," Sophie Morris, who plays Puck, said. "The set is also very interesting."

Cromwell said that the play will not only be enjoyable for its set and dialect, but also its characters.

"Even if you have seen fairies a hundred times before, ours will be interesting. Usually fairies are always in pink and baby blue with little glitter faces, but we didn't go that way at all. They are really more like gnomes and elves."

Dannielle Greco, who plays Titania, the queen of the fairy world, said she also thinks that everything is coming together well.

"Rehearsals are going well and with the show quickly approaching everything is kicking into high gear."

By Leslie Engle

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