Creative Cauldron is presenting an artful rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with everyone in the huge cast under the age of 20 except for the king and queen of the faeries. The queen, Titania is played by Laura Connors Hull, the founder of Creative Cauldron in Falls Church, VA. She and Tom Stamp, as the appropriately long-haired and arch-eyebrowed Oberon, lead a cast of 30 elementary and secondary-aged students to perform an enchanting version of Shakespeare’s popular comedy complete with wild-looking faeries.
Set in Athens, Greece, the action involves two couples, Lysander (Colter Adams) and Hermia (Lauren Buford), who run away to the woods because her dad will not let them marry. There they encounter her best friend, Helena (Laura Trice), who is in love with Demetrius (Benjamin Hacker), but it’s complicated because Demetrius is supposed to marry Hermia.
As Helena, Trice is funny when she grasps on to Demetrius’s shin and gets dragged along the floor in tiny increments. As Lysander, Adams’ hands look double jointed as he gets hauled away from his love interest. Along with Buford and Hacker, it is amazing to watch these young people perform Shakespeare’s original dialog, especially as the action rises toward the end of this well-paced show directed by Shannon Lynch. It would be nice to hear the lines delivered in a more plainspoken fashion.
In another part of the woods, some workers are practicing a play to perform at a Duke’s wedding. One of them, Nick Bottom (Shannon Rodgers), is turned into an ass. Rodgers is good at acting while wearing the delightful mesh donkey mask made by Scenic and Costume Designer Margie Jervis.
The play at the wedding includes the well-cast Merone Mesfin (Wall) and Laura Duffet delivers a fine performance as Moonshine.
The production is notable for its cool fairy wings, along with Oberon’s spiky-legged and feather-shouldered costume and special sound effects (by Kerry Hull) to accompany a dramatic wave of the arms by Puck (Charlie Adams) for the casting of magic spells that rivals Aang from Avatar: The Last Air Bender. The insect sounds were also a nice touch.
The show opens with mesmerizing speckles of fluourescent light by John Sami gyrating over elves and faeries including Arini Barghava (Changeling Boy), Owen Hacker (Pluck), Adam Batchelor (Tuck), Morgan Beltson (Chuck), Madison Comey (Luck), Maya Wrona (Peasebossom), Sara Rollins (Blossom), Hope Baker (Mustardseed), Sienna Palusky (Mustard), Emma Hill (Moth), Libby Brooke (Mo), and Amelia Magee (Cobweb). They really looked like faeries. It was wild and uncanny.
The workers included Emma Rollins (Peter Quince), Max Vagoun (Thisbe), Matthew Bloss Baum (The Lion), and Juliana Chavez (Marlowe and the Scribe). Theseus was played by Madison Corney, Hippolyta by Lauren Sutton, Philostrate by Morgan Beltson, and Egeus by Mesfin. Attendants include Wrona, Annie Stamp and Chavez.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream was conceived and developed by Hull and composer Matt Conner as part of Creative Cauldron’s Learning Theater program.
Opening on a full moon and closing just after the summer solstice, Creative Cauldron’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a great way to get into the magic of summer and is sure to leave you smiling.
Running Time: 75 minutes, with no intermission.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream plays through June 22, 2014 at Creative Cauldron’s Artspace–410 South Maple Avenue, in Falls Church, VA. For tickets, call the box office at (703) 436-9948, or purchase them online.