Review of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Shakespeare Dallas
Shakespeare Dallas's A Midsummer Night's Dream
Sara Romersberger's directorial debut is a smashing success. This production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is a joy to watch. Apart from the usual fantastic scenery, colorful costumes, and comic antics that Shakespeare fans expect from a production of MSD, this production also boasts incredible acrobatics and choreography. Romersberger, an experienced choreographer with many credits to her name, adds plenty of acrobatic feats to make for an excellent comic romp through the woods. The acting, costumes, and set all come together to make this an above-average production of one of Shakespeare's most popular plays.
This production has been unfairly judged by local critics. The cast, contrary to what some reviewers claim, is superb. Everyone plays their roles very well. If the production is over-the-top, that is because it was the way Shakespeare wrote it. Rosaura Cruz, Nicole Berastequi, Tyler Crim, and Andrew Gonzales are excellent as the young Athenians. Marcus Stimac and Lydia Mackay also turn in excellent performances as Oberon and Titania respectively. Kamen Casey's acrobatics as Robin Goodfellow are truly impressive and he delivers the play's final speech with suitable gusto. The real gems here, however, are the actors playing the "Rude Mechanicals" charged with presenting the "lamentable comedy of Pyramus and Thisbe" for the Duke's wedding. Anthony Ramirez's splendid performance of Bottom the Weaver more than once reduced the audience to uncontrollable laughter and the final performance of the play-within-a-play is probably the funniest scene in the play. Like most Shakespeare Dallas productions, this play also features several fine musical numbers, including an original composition of some of Shakespeare's most famous lines set to music (think of it as a Shakespeare's Greatest Hits medley).
Costumes, Set Design, and Choreography
Costume designer Lyle Huchton chooses to dress the humans characters in contemporary "beach" clothes and the fairies in more traditional "fantasy" style clothing. This helps emphasize the anachronistic nature of the play, like a dream, it exists outside of the ordinary bounds of time and place.
The set, designed by Jeffrey Schmidt, is essentially the same set used for Pericles but several "ship" set pieces have been removed and giant flowers and mushrooms have been added to the stage. The comic antics of the play work very well with the contours and hiding places available on stage.
The production is full of beautiful choreography, with "fairies" performing flips, climbing rigging, and executing cirque-du-soleil style acrobatics on either side of the stage. Unfortunately, this display goes on a bit long during scenes, and tends to distract from some of the longer speeches (particularly Titania's opening speech).
Shakespeare Dallas Performances
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William Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets touch on every major theme in life. Now, every one of his works will be performed in staged readings at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. In a unique collaboration with Shakespeare Dallas, The Complete Works
Shakespeare Dallas's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream is a wonderful entertainment for a summer evening. It is more family friendly and easier to follow than Pericles, Shakespeare Dallas's other summer production, thanks to Sarah Romersberger's skillful direction.
A Word on Coming Attractions
After Pericles and A Midsummer Night's Dream close two weeks from now, Shakespeare Dallas will be presenting a "Junior Players" (teen) production of Much Ado About Nothing from July 23 to July 28.
After this, Shakespeare Dallas's fall production, The Winter's Tale, directed by Rene Moreno, will open September 18 and continue through October. Should this production prove half as good as Moreno's superb production of Macbeth last year, Shakespeare Dallas fans are in for a real treat.
Finally, Shakespeare Dallas (in partnership with the AT&T Performing Arts Center) will be presenting three staged readings this fall: A Comedy of Errors, Timon of Athens, and The Merchant of Venice.