The critically acclaimed Aquila Theatre returns to George Mason University’s Center for the Arts on Sunday, March 31 at 7:00 p.m. for an enchanting performance of William Shakespeare’s beloved and witty comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Aquila Theatre is on a mission to make classical works accessible to the greatest number of people, and Shakespeare’s iconic caper about love and commitment and its and attendant complications of passion, lust, frustration, confusion, and jealousy is a natural fit for the leading producer of touring classical theatre. The New York Times applauds this renowned theater company for making “Shakespeare perfectly comprehensible,” and The New Yorker calls their Shakespeare interpretations “beautifully spoken, dramatically revealing and crystalline in effect.”
With its signature expressive movement, stirring music, evocative sets, and some of the most accomplished Shakespearean actors, Aquila Theatre takes the audience deep into a magical forest filled with fairies and humans the eve of the royal wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. With at least four plot lines to keep straight and numerous characters, Aquilla Theatre employs plenty of visual hooks including double casting, to guide the audience through the world where, “The course of true love never did run smooth.”
At the center of the story is the mischievous sprite Puck, who is let loose in the forest with a love tonic, and naturally, things go uproariously awry. He happens upon four embattled lovers—Hermia, Lysander, Helena, and Demetrius—who have escaped into the woods to work out their relationship issues. However, when Puck sprinkles the potion into their sleeping eyes, they fall into a state of mad passion for the first person they see upon waking. Puck’s hoax causes much havoc between the lovers as he works to sort out the chaos.
Meanwhile, Puck’s master, the king of the Fairies, Oberon feels slighted by his Fairy Queen Titania. Out of jealousy, he plays a trick on Titania causing her to fall head over heels for the magically altered human named Button, who has been separated from his band of tradesmen turned actors, known as The Mechanicals.
In the morning, the pandemonium between young lovers and marital conflict between the King and Queen of the Fairies is happily resolved and the nuptials of Theseus and Hippolyta proceeds. Their celebration is punctuated by a hilarious and poignant performance of Ovid’s “Pyramus and Thisbe” by The Mechanicals. The famous “play within a play” serves as another mirror on the themes of love and foolishness and illusion versus reality.
Aquila Executive Artistic Director Desiree Sanchez directs the innovative production that features Harriet Barrow, Andrea Bellamore, Nicholas Charles, James Donovan, Lily Donovan, Jack Klaff, and Robert Madley. The design team features scenic and lighting designer Stevie Mackie, costume designers Lara de Brujin and Peter Todd, sound designer Jo Walker, and projection designer Declan Randall.
Running Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission. A pre-performance discussion with a member of the company begins 45 minutes prior to the performance.