By Holli Harms
It’s a party at The Public and we’re all invited!
The Public Theater’s priceless, important, wonderful Mobile Unit is at it again, this time with one of the Bard’s most enduring comedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
I’ll put a quick girdle around the story as refresher course: Theseus, the Duke of Athens (Merritt Janson) is marrying Hippolyte, (Marinda Anderson) former queen of the Amazons. Lysander (Jasai Chase Owens) wants to marry Hermia (Carolyn Kettig), but her father Egeus (David Ryan Smith ) has chosen Demetrius (Leland Fowler) for her instead, saying marry Demetrius or die. (Nice!) Demetrius says he loves Hermia though he once loved Helena (Rosanny Zayas) who is still head over heels for Demetrius even though he scorns her, and I mean scorns her every chance he gets. Lysander says to Hermia let’s sneak away to the woods and from there head to my aunt’s outside of Athens where we can marry. Hermia agrees and heads to the woods only after telling her childhood buddy Helena about the plot. Helena tells Demetrius about their escape in hopes that he will finally get it that they, Helena and Demetrius, love each other and belong together. Also in the woods, Oberon the King of the Fairies (Janson) decides to play a joke on the wife Titania queen of the fairies (Anderson) with the help of the side-kick Puck (Natalie Woolams-Torres). Puck, that rascal, sprinkles love potion on all the wrong people and everyone is chasing after everyone through the woods like mortal fools. Oh, and a band of actors lead by the egotistical ham Bottom (Christopher Ryan Grant ) have ventured into the woods to rehearse their play about love. All the unrequited love, false love, jealousy, duels, and crazy antics of the “actors” is perfect fodder for this wildly fun romp deftly directed by Jenny Koons.
This is 90 minutes of non-stop hilarity. It’s a good, crazy, dancing time at the theatre and it’s Shakespeare. If you have a friend who has been hesitant about going to see Shakespeare (Egads- the words, the time, the emotional commitment), this is the play you have to take them to.
Actually, any of the works by Mobile Unit would suffice. I have been tooting their horn for years!
They are one of the gifts we have for living in this great city of ours. The Mobile Unit tears down the barriers of the Bard, cuts the heck out of the plays to get to the nitty-gritty and then travels with the plays to the outer boroughs, to our prisons and shelters and schools and now a national touring company; any place where people can come together, they get to. And all for free. Sharing the words and stories of Mr. Shakespeare to those who might not have ever heard them.
So again, take your friend, or if you have a ten-year-old or older who roles their eyes when you say “Shakespeare” and makes gagging sounds, grab them and take them. They will be dancing by the end of the play asking, “Who is this Shakespeare and what else has he written?”
But mostly, take yourself for some fun and respite from this crazy time we are living in.
The cast in this 90-minute workout are a wonderfully diverse toe-tapping, knee-slapping fantastically talented troupe of thespians. AND IT’S FREE!
A Midsummer Night’s Dream written by William Shakespeare, directed by Jenny Koons.
With: Marinda Anderson (Hippolyta/Titania), Leland Fowler (Demetrius/Flute), Christopher Ryan Grant (Bottom), Merritt Janson (Theseus/Oberon), Carolyn Kettig (Hermia/Starveling), Jasai Chase Owens (Lysander/Snug), David Ryan Smith (Egeus/Quince/Fairy), Natalie Woolams-Torres (Puck), and Rosanny Zayas (Helena/Snout).
Scenic Designer: Kimie Nishikawa, Costume Designer: Hahnji Jang, Fight Director: Lisa Kopitsky, Production Stage Manager: Howard Tilkin, Stage Manager: Katie Kennedy
The Public’s Shiva Theater, October 28 – November 17
Estimated Run Time 90 minutes with no intermission
Tickets FREE Handed out 90 minutes before each performance on first come first serve basis.