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A Midsummer Night's Dream

a Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by William Shakespeare

COMPANY : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
ID# 3945

SHOWING : April 21, 2011 - May 29, 2011

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Dueling fairies, enchanted woods, a love triangle that turns hexagon…. watch the hilarity unravel right before your eyes!


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Andrew Houchins
Lighting Designer Greg Hanthorn, Jr.
Music Director/Composer Mark W. Schroeder
Snug/Mustardseed Tony Brown
Helena Kelly Criss
Bottom Nicholas Faircloth
Lysander Matt Felten
Hermia Jaclyn Hoffman
Hermia Jaclyn Hofmann
Theseus/Oberon Jonathan Horne
Snout/Moth Bryan Lee
Puck/Philostrate Daniel Parvis
Hippolyta/Titania Tiffany Porter
Fairy/Quince Drew Reeves
Starveling/Cobweb Mark W. Schroeder
Flute/Fairy Jeffrey Stephenson
Peaseblossom/Egeus Troy Willis
Demetrius Jacob York
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

A Little More Night Laughter
by Dedalus
Thursday, June 2, 2011
4.5
Happy the Bardophile who wallows in a late summer dream only to see it “revived” a mere seven months later! Happy the tavern-going public who gets a chance to see the Tavern’s roster of familiar faces doing what they do best, then seeing them do it again! Happy the writer who can copy and paste a column previously written about a production previously praised!

Indeed, if this review gives you a sense of déjà vu, it’s because I wrote much of it last August when this production first galloped across the Tavern stage. This time, I got to bring along my wife and child, and this time, the pleasures were just as deep, the production just as enjoyable. This time, there were even a few things better.

Shakespeare’s “Dream” is probably his most accessible and familiar story. Theaterreview.com lists no fewer than twenty productions, four of which have my own reviews attached. I have personally been part of three separate productions, and seen at least a dozen more in venues in and out of Atlanta (including Canada’s Stratford Festival – and the less said about that Zorba-esque exercise, the better. Offa, Indeed!).

So with all that been-there seen-that potential in my expectations slot, I once again ventured forth upon a post-midspring eve to witness the New American Shakespeare Tavern’s “Traditional” approach to the piece, to see if my overwhelmingly positive response last summer was mere late-summer whimsy.

To recap, I’ve seen “Midsummers” set in a forest of beds-on-stilts, cast with “tag-team” Pucks, with mechanicals dressed in thatch, 2009’s GSF backstage-centric extravaganza, even one in which Puck wore Buddy Holly glasses and a superman shirt. It should be difficult to surprise me with this one.

Here we have a “Midsummer” with few directorial “flourishes” (a flatulent Lysander and a Jersey-Boy Peaseblossom are the major stand-outs), yet (again) I found myself continually surprised – surprised at the depths the actors found in the characters and interactions, surprised at the passions flowing like fairy dust, surprised at the moments of tenderness and whimsy, surprised at the laughs pulled from me on lines I know far too well. For the second time, I really REALLY enjoyed this production.

Let’s start with the cast. As before, the four lovers are the comic equals of the “Rude Mechanicals”. The scripted height-difference between Hermia (Jaclyn Hofmann) and Helena (Kelly Criss) is minimal (and the “big deal" made of it is funnier for that), but Jacob York’s Demetrius towers over Matt Felten’s Lysander, and a lot of comic mileage is made of that. Director Andrew Houchins has staged the forest scene with so much wit and slapstick and originality, that I (and, I daresay, everyone else in Friday’s crowd) was actually breathless with uncontrolled laughter. These four performers are so dynamic, so compelling, that they could have carried the show themselves, without the “low-brow” Mechanicals.

As to the Mechanicals themselves, Nicholas Faircloth left behind August’s understated Bottom, this time bursting from the gate in full bellow. As the show continues, he lets out even more stops, so that, by the time we get to the final scene, he’s chewing the scenery with the best of Bottoms (and the worst of Pyramuses). Drew Reeves’ Quince has some fine moments, Jeffrey Stephenson is a fine and flouncy Flute, Mark Schroeder a nicely petulant Starveling, and Bryan Lee a young and eager Snout. But, it is still Tony Brown’s sweetly dim Snug who is the most memorable of the lot, making one of the sweetest lions this side of Disney.

Daniel Parvis makes a nice and mischievous Puck, taking great joy in the bedlam he brings, bouncing around the stage with the energy of a pinball. I liked his moments of affection (and defiance) towards Oberon, and I loved the evident joy he took in his actions and in his words. This was one of the most poetically literate Pucks I’ve seen in a while, and Mr. Parvis proves himself (once again) a master of the language and of the character.

Matt Nitchie has been replaced by Jonathan Horne as Theseus and Oberon and Tiffany Porter is once again Hippolyta and Titania, and they make some intriguing choices and elicit their share of laughs. Again, though, neither is really “larger than life,” and I still wish they could have been a bit bigger. After all, they are leaders of mortals and immortals, and they too often come across as merely another set of lovers.

Of course, the set is the typical Tavern Globe-front, but lighting designer Greg Hanthorne Jr. has put together a marvelous design that takes us from day to night, from palace to forest, from glen to bower. Music written by Mark Schroeder and other “live” sounds contribute their usual mood-setting ambience to the tavern experience.
So the remarkable thing about this production is that it still reminds us that, no matter how familiar a particular Shakespearean piece may be, creative and inspired directors and actors can make it seem new and fresh and rich with “I-never-noticed-that-before” moments, even if we have seen the same production before. Going out on imaginative limbs can be fun and can be revealing, but not more so than simply knowing these characters so well they can move and amuse us with their fanciful story.

This is a supremely funny play, and, you truly need put it on your spring calendar.

It is definitely a treat to see the lovers’ plot on an equal comic footing with the “Rude Mechanicals” and a treat to see seasoned Shakespeareans at the top of their form. In this production, the well of laughter truly hath no bottom!

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)


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by reviewer23
Monday, May 23, 2011
5.0
This show was the third I've seen at the Shakespeare Tavern and could not have been more impressed. Each show there keeps getting better and better. All of the actors are hilarious, especially Matt Felton as Lysander and Nicholas Faircloth as Bottom. The costumes were spectacular and the music was fantastic! If you have not seen this show, you must go immediately because it is truly an unforgettable show. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Loving It
by bored_gurl9023
Sunday, May 22, 2011
5.0
I'm a very big fan of Shakespeare and let me just say, I have never seen the play done in this manner. The actors were amazing, the food was great, and their comedic twists were something worth going to see. Two thumbs up for a wonderful show. It will keep you laughing from start to finish. Even if you don't understand anything about Shakespeare's work, you will love this. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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