Some may feel that Shakespeare is Greek to them, but the Troy Howard Middle School drama troupe is working to make “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” less foreign to all who come to see the show.

THMS players are using knowledge they gained through their language arts classes last year to conquer the dialogue used in Shakespeare’s comedy, which is set in ancient Athens.

THMS drama adviser and language arts teacher Jason Bannister said the young actors are much further along with this fall’s production with respect to learning their lines and combining facial expressions and gestures to convey meaning. Because of the exposure to Shakespeare that many of them had in his classes last year, which included performing Shakespearean plays and spending a week working with actors from the Penobscot Theater, Bannister said, the actors are evidently comfortable with the language.

“By the end of all of that, the kids had a lot of experience with it,” Bannister said.

The idea to tackle “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for this fall’s production, Bannister said, came from his desire to see the drama troupe try something new.

“We always do light-hearted plays that have kind of been written specifically for middle school kids,” he said. “But this year, I wanted to introduce the kids to something that’s stood the test of time.”

Even after hundreds of years, Bannister said, there are many themes in the Shakespearean comedy that still ring true in modern times, such as love triangles and a young person’s desire to break away from their parents.

The play portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus (portrayed by Ben Robsen), and the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta (Caroline Philbrook). Included in these events is the chronicling of the adventures of four Athenian lovers and a group of actors, all of whom who are manipulated by the fairies of the forest where much of the play is set.

Theseus is preparing for his marriage to Hippolyta and is planning a celebratory festival. Meanwhile Egeus, an Athenian nobleman portrayed by Joseph Cort, marches into Theseus’ court with his daughter, Hermia (Katrina Pomeroy), and two young men, Demetrius (Mackenzie Moore) and Lysander (Catey McGinn).

Egeus wants Hermia to marry Demetrius, but Hermia is in love with Lysander. Theseus gives Hermia until his wedding to consider obeying her father’s wishes, warning her that refusal to do so could result in her being executed. Nonetheless, Hermia and Lysander plan to marry the following night and they make their intentions known to Hermia’s friend Helena (Maggie Goscinski), who was once engaged to Demetrius and still loves him. Hoping to regain Demetrius’ love, Helena tells him of Hermia and Lysander’s plan to elope. At the appointed time, Demetrius stalks into the woods after the duo, and Helena follows behind him.

From there, the group of lovers are subject to the work of the fairies in the forest, and are unwittingly included in an ongoing disagreement between the queen of the fairies, Titania (Grace Bagley) and the fairy king, Oberon (Owen Falvey). Adding to the intentional confusion is the presence of several Athenian actors who are rehearsing a play they intend to perform for Theseus and his bride.

With the help of Oberon’s mischievous servant Puck (Cameron Pillitteri), the combination of fairies, actors and unsuspecting young lovers take the audience through a sequence of events the THMS players hope will evoke laughter in all who come to see the production.

In an effort to make the Elizabethan English less foreign to the actors, Bannister first had them re-enact some of the scenes using modern English.

“By doing that, I think they got the idea about the language differences, how they need to pause at certain words, or where they need to use hand gestures,” he said.

Sarah Berry, who plays the role of a member of Titania’s fairy court, Feather Goblinfilter, said having that kind of practice was necessary for her to play her role to the best of her ability.

“It really helped us to not only learn the lines, but what the lines mean, so the audience can understand what we’re saying, too,” she said.

THMS librarian Sara Joy is back this fall to assist with the costumes, which consist largely of traditional Greek attire. Parent volunteer Angela Mitchell has been working with the actors on learning their lines, and guiding them through the challenging Shakespearean text along the way.

In all, the cast includes 25 THMS students, and eight more students are assisting with set design.

Emma Sturdevant, who portrays the Athenian actor Flute, has the unique task of playing the part of a male who at one point must play the role of a female within the play.

“I’m looking forward to showing this to all of our parents, so they can see everything that we’ve learned,” she said.

The curtain will rise Thursday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. at THMS, and two more evening shows are planned for Friday, Nov. 19, and Saturday, Nov. 20. There will also be a matinee show Sunday, Nov. 21, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults, and admission is free for students.