Photo credit: Teresa Wood.
It may be cold outside, but the Folger Theatre is celebrating the Valentine’s season with their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Directed by Aaron Posner, Shakespeare’s beloved comedy comes to life at the storied theater, running through March 6th.
As the theater states, Midsummer is “a frolicsome escapade bursting with mistaken identities, topsy-turvy love triangles, and mystical charms as lovers are bewitched and beguiled by inhabitants of the captivating forest. Absurdity, trickery, love affairs, and machinations abound in one of the Bard’s most enduring tales.”
The star-studded cast did not disappoint as Washingtonians headed to The Hill to enjoy an evening of on-stage mischief. Erin Weaver, who is married to director Posner, played the part of Puck masterfully, bringing alive one of the Bard’s most famous sprites. Fellow Helen Hayes awardee Holly Twyford also shone in her role as Bottom, the foolish yet lovable character who provides comic relief throughout the entirety of the play.
“Everyone knows Midsummer is one of the great theatrical masterpieces,” stated director Aaron Posner, “but no matter how many times you engage with it, there are always new riches, new depths, new pleasures, and new discoveries to be made. My goal is to keep it simple and playful and true, and let this great group of actors share with our audiences all the discoveries they make about how the play speaks to them.”
Indeed Posner did breathe fresh life into this oft-performed play. Andre Pluess composed original music for the performance, as he has for the theater previously during the production of As You Like It. Musical pieces were equal parts whimsy and catchy, in keeping with the magical setting of the play. Choreography by Erika Chong Shuch interwove styles spanning decades to bring real-time relevance to Shakespeare’s timeless writing, and costuming ranging from the playwright’s time to our current one kept viewers grounded among the worlds of the fairies and humans.
Caroline Stefanie Clay carried her roles of Titania and Hippolyta majestically, while Eric Hissom as Oberon and Theseus proved to be a humorous yet thought-provoking presence. Adam Wesley Brown as Lysander and Desmond Bing as Demetrius were both entertaining lovers to, depending on the scene, one or both of Kim Wong as Helena and Betsy Mugavero as Hermia.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream plays at Folger Theatre from January 26 through March 6, 2016. Tickets are $35-$75. Lower-priced previews and discounts for students, seniors, military, educators, and groups of ten or more are available and may be purchased at the Folger Theatre Box Office at (202) 544-7077 or online at http://www.folger.edu/theatre.