A Midsummer Night’s Dream is Mind over Magic

As with most everything that Ethan McSweeny (Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice) has directed at the Shakespeare Theatre of late A Midsummer Night’s Dream makes magic.

Puck and Nick Bottom (transformed)

You might expect it would be hard not to when dealing with mischievous fairies and a supernatural show of Puck’s (Adam Green) mis-matching star crossed young crushes, but making changes to a classic (Peter Brook’s whiteout wonder from 1970 seems always called to Midsummer mind…) can be complicated: The version on stage now at the Harmon Theatre is actually inflused with an additional dose of theatricality.

Because it’s in the ruins of an abandoned theatre where this triple trouble takes place.

Inside the Fairies’ theatrical den

Nick Bottom (Bruce Dow) and his Mechanicals are rehearsing a play to entertain at the Duke’s wedding where lovers Hermia (Amelia Pedlow), Lysander (Robert Beitzel), Demetrius (Chris Myers) and Helena (Christiana Clark) also eventually find themselves as they are fleeing Athens (or chasing unrequited love, as the case may be).  The Fairy Queen Titania (Sara Topham) and her ensemble flitterers happen to also use the space as a battle base of sorts.

Love juice, revenge and some honest mistakes complicate and confuse all three of these seemingly separate stories, which hilariously come together — with some gratuitous mud wrestling — in an aim to do good… and alter destinies.

Could it dare be anything but a dream?

*All photos by Scott Suchman

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