Director Michael Kelley and his team have trimmed Midsummer down to a just over two-hour run time with no intermission. I've seen the play several times, but I couldn't tell you what was cut out. Everything is still there, from the four young lovers chasing each other through the woods (Helena loves Demetrius, Demetrius loves and is betrothed to Hermia, Hermia loves Lysander, Lysander used to love Hermia but now loves Helena due to a spell place on him by the mischievous Puck), the group of actors rehearsing for a play before the Duke, said Duke and his court, and the fairies frolicking in the woods in service of their Queen Titania and King Oberon.
|the stage is set at Como Park|
And run around they do. Everyone in the 20-person ensemble is playful and present, often entering and exiting through the audience sitting on blankets and camp chairs on the hillside. Timothy Daly is our Puck, narrator and chief mischief-maker, becoming more and more dirty throughout the show until he's almost entirely covered in mud! Neal Beckman (who recently played Puck in Walking Shadow's follow-up to Midsummer, A Midwinter Night's Revel) and Megan Volkman Wilson are fun to watch as Theseus/Oberon and Hippolyta/Titania, both individually and as these two love/hate pairs. Also notable in this solid cast are Marika Proctor, Andy Schnabel, Justin Hooper, and Hannah Steblay as the four young lovers, charming and funny and passionate all.
A Midsummer Night's Dream continues through July 17 at a park near you. Check their website for the full schedule with detailed location of where within each park they'll be performing. It's free and no reservations are required - just show up! Bring a blanket or a lawn chair, bring your dog or your baby, bring a picnic, bring sunscreen, and enjoy a classic Shakespeare comedy in the way it was meant to be enjoyed - playful, earthy, accessible, immediate, and fun.