Opinion: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ cast deliver extraordinary performance

Adam Tindall had the opportunity to watch the play on opening night and he really enjoyed it. The cast were able to deliver the Shakespearean comedy extraordinarily and had the audience laughing at multiple scenes. Check out the rest of Adam’s review here.

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" will be showing at the Clarence Brown Theatre until March 8.

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" will be showing at the Clarence Brown Theatre until March 8.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be showing at the Clarence Brown Theatre until March 8.

The Clarence Brown Theatre is showing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare from Feb. 20 to March 8.

I had the opportunity to watch the play on opening night, Feb. 20, and I really enjoyed it.  The cast were able to deliver the Shakespearean comedy extraordinarily and had the audience, myself included, laughing at multiple scenes.  David Kortemeier (Nick Bottom) and the rest of the Athenian worker cast were crowd favorites having the audience bursting with laughter quite frequently during their scenes.  While I questioned the set design at first, the production’s set started to grow on me as I saw how the cast interacted with it.  Overall, I highly recommend going to see a performance with friends or family.

The play is a romantic comedy that takes place in Athens and a nearby forest.  The story revolves around four Athenian lovers, band of Athenian workers and the mystical fairy kingdom.  While under the cover of the midnight forest, the fairy king Oberon and his servant Puck meddles with the affairs of the lovers, workers and the fairy queen, Titania.  From their schemes, all parties involved find themselves in a frenzied chaos.

The Athenian court cast did a great job of showcasing the orderly chaos amongst themselves.  As mentioned previously, two of the lovers had their emotions unrequited which was depicted well by the cast up until the point before Puck sent things to go amiss.  At this point, roles are reversed and emotions are toyed with by the fairies mischievous acts which the cast transitions to all of sudden- which based on the context of the play is the perfect way to transition. While in the woods, they are at the mercy of the fairy magic and whims, depicting that the Athenian law which represents order has no sway in the fairy kingdom which represents a playful chaos.

Amanda Catania (Helena) played her character in a hysterical manner which was fitting for the role.  Helena is loves  Demetrius but her feelings are unrequited at first. Brian Gligor (Demetrius) and Steve Sherman (Lysander) displayed their characters rivalry with ease as well as their affections to the women they love.

The Athenian worker cast had a spectacular performance.  On opening night, the audience would laugh quite frequently during their scenes.  Kortemeier delivered the role of Nick Bottom even better than I imagined and the rest of worker cast were able to build upon their scenes to create a hilarious spectacle.  I personally loved how John Sipes, the director, envisioned this particular set of supporting cast as they added to the whimsical nature of the comedy.

The set design seemed unusual and did not seem to fit the play at first.  It consisted of several doors that would come up from the stage floor in various places, a lighted background and a hanging moon.  The use of doors were what seemed strange to me at first since most of the performance takes place within the forest.  The only differentiation between the Athenian court and the forest was the presence of the moon and a change of the background scene.  During scenes in the court, I felt the doors took away from the scene because it seemed to detract from the order of the Athenian court.  The way the cast entered and exited the scene through these doors seemed too random.  However, these elements complimented the forest scene quite well because the characters are wandering throughout the woods.  The lighted background was a beautiful sight to behold, especially for the forest scenes.  I particularly loved how the used the upper stage in front of the background to showcase the distant wandering of the characters.

The costume design was not what I was expecting, which was probably for the better.  Instead of taking a more traditional approach by using Athenian influenced garments, Marianne Custer- costume designer- took a more modern approach.  The Athenian court wore formal attire.  The fairy costumes varied quite a bit in order to fit each fairy’s personal flair.  The Athenian worker costumes adopted a early 20th century style which felt appropriate to depict the class distinction between them and the court.

Overall, it was well worth the trip to the Clarence Brown Theatre. You can purchase tickets to one of the remaining productions here.

Edited by Jessica Carr

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