DEVENS -- Curtains rose and theater came alive to the whimsical work of William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School.

The chaotic story of four young lovers, a vengeful king and meddling fairies proves that falling in love can make fools of everyone. Full of flittering fairies, mischievous magic, and misadventures this performance was a delightful journey from the royal court into a magical realm.

This Shakespearean classical tale unfolds in ancient Athens as Lysander and Demetrius compete for Hermia's attention and Helena attempts to capture Demetrius' attention.

The student-run fall production of Shakespeare's most popular comedy was directed by Ryan Ruopp. It featured 25 student actors in grades 7-12 and nine student technicians plus a stage crew.

The school's spring production, a showcase composed of musical theater numbers and plays directed and sometimes written by students, will be held on April 3-5.

This program was supported in part by grants awarded from the Ayer, Harvard, Groton, Shirley, and Townsend Local Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

The Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School, which currently enrolls 400 students from more than 40 cities and towns, is one of Massachusetts' first charter schools.