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IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Making magic backstage

"Bless thee, Bottom, you are transformed," a fearful pirate Quince tells his friend, Bottom, who emerges from the woods not realizing that his head has been transformed into the head of a donkey by the mischievous fairy Puck.

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“Bless thee, Bottom, you are transformed,” a fearful pirate Quince tells his friend, Bottom, who emerges from the woods not realizing that his head has been transformed into the head of a donkey by the mischievous fairy Puck.

Nick Bottom was not the only character “transformed” during Cloquet High School’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” last weekend.

With a cast that included 23 unnamed fairies in addition to eight with named speaking parts, a bevy of backstage volunteers were busy before every dress rehearsal and performance, turning high school students into woodland sprites, birdlike fairies and other fantastic and magical creatures to populate one of William Shakespeare’s zaniest and most beloved plays.

Nurse Jennifer Hamlin, whose son, Zach, was cast as the fairy Moth in the play, said she just answered the call for help with hair and makeup and was having a blast.

“I love that we (parents) are able to be involved,” she said, spraypainting the finishing touches on Marjorie Larsen’s colorful crest of hair, an upward swoop of greens, purple and red that rivaled Mother Nature’s own avian artwork.

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Longtime backstage veteran  Karen Fox stood at the station next to Hamlin, braiding and teasing hair for fairies and pirates alike. Fox got involved when her granddaughter was in “Anything Goes” and has now worked her way up to co-costume director alongside costume guru Joan Hakala. Fox created the fairy king’s antlered crown, and the fairy queen’s spectacular golden dress.

“The kids are fun, and I love playing with make-up,” Fox said.

Other volunteers in the department of “making magic backstage” included Lonna Witte, Collette Lenarz, Iris Keller and Sarah Erickson.

PHOTOS AND TEXT BY JANA PETERSON

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