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A Midsummer Night's Dream

One recurring theme in Shakespearean drama is the playwright's campaign against arranged marriages and the treatment of women as property. Most prominently it appears in Romeo and Juliet and in A Midsummer Night's Dream, the latter now in production at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.

Egeus, father to Hermia, wants her wed to Demetrius, who is willing, but Hermia is in love with Lysander and he with she; it is Hermia's best friend Helena that is in love with Demetrius. If this situation weren't sticky enough, the duke of Athens agrees with Hermia's father that, according to Athenian law, she must obey her father's will, or become a renunciate, or die. As the poet says, "The course of true love never did run smooth "

Photo of Sarah Fallon as Titania; Ceeko Scheeren as Oberon
Sarah Fallon as Titania;
Ceeko Scheeren as Oberon
Photo Credit: Lou Costy
To reconcile this sorry situation, the bard invents a host of fairies who change the hearts and minds of those who stand in the way of true love. This may seem common enough until one is reminded that this is the story that originated this now popular genre.

Because of its strong identification with bucolic magic, A Midsummer Night's Dream is one Shakespearean play where the setting is rarely altered, and under the direction of Patrick Kelly, this production finds its atmospherics in surreal pastel spirits, sprites, and fairies that are a sometimes a clumsy cross between mutant interstellar insects and overgrown personified shrubbery.

Photo of Sarah Fallon as Titania; Ceeko Scheeren as Oberon
Sarah Fallon as Titania;
Dennis Elkins as Bottom
Photo Credit: Lou Costy
Pleasing though, is the broad attitude Kelly paints with his actors, reaching to all corners of the spacious outdoor amphitheatre. Led by the devious Oberon (Ceeko Scheeren) and the saucy Titania (Sarah Lauren Fallon), the ethereal menagerie swarms over the human interlopers, sprinkling love potions, affording comfort, and generally acting as catalysts for the happy ending.

Sheryle Wells as Helena is a whirlwind of wit and flirtation at the center of two shifting love triangles and Dennis R. Elkins' Bottom is effulgent.

The Colorado Shakespeare Festival's A Midsummer Night's Dream runs in repertory with Macbeth, Richard III, and a new comedy, Shakespeare in Briefs, through August 18th. 303-492-0554.

Bob Bows

 

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