The November to December slump may seem like an odd time to enter into the forest of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but Cincinnati Shakespeare Company tosses in midwinter magic and a “Frozen” design to retell the classic comedy.
The Creative Team
Sara Clark directs this tale of lovers and fairies. Samantha Reno’s scenic design with Aiden Bezark’s lighting, and Robert Carlton Stimmel’s projections fully ground us under the Northern Lights. Costume Designer Rainy Edwards’ rich fabrics bring us into the Nordic winter as two sets of young lovers– or wannabe lovers– enter into the forest to take charge of their fates.
Duke Theseus (Geoffrey Warren Barnes II) and Hippolyta (Dawn Stern) are set to wed in four days, but first have to deal with a local matter. Egeus (Gina Cerimele-Mechley) has betrothed her daughter Hermia to Demetrius, but Hermia is in love with Lysander. Helena, Hermia’s best friend, is herself in love with Demetrius, but that only goes one way. The Duke declares that Hermia must decide to marry Demetrius, enter a convent, or face her death. Unbeknownst to Egeus, Hermia and Lysander decide to run away and elope. Unbeknownst to them, Demetrius (and Helena) follow close behind as they all enter the forest. Barnes and Stern continue their royal roles as Oberon and Titania, king and queen of the fairies in the forest.
Emilie O’Hara’s Hermia and A.J. Baldwin’s Helena contrast beautifully as the childhood friends coming to quarrel over K.P. Powell’s Lysander and Patrick Earl Phillips’s Demetrius. The lovers all add youthful exuberance and rash emotions to their parts, but with the humor and competitiveness of a love… rectangle? Parallelogram?
Another notable inclusion is the Q-Kidz Dance Team, choreographed by Mariah and Chariah Jones, as Titania’s fairies. The innocence of fairies is seen in the tiniest among them, but the sass of the queen’s court shines through their excellent physicality and energy. Angelique Archer’s mischievous Puck, is an audience favorite in an interesting costume, but she makes it twerk.
The stars of the show and the triumphant climax comes from the Mechanicals – a set of tradesmen hired to perform at the Duke’s upcoming wedding. Imagine the zeal of a high school drama club with half the talent and double the personality. Miranda McGee milks every moment as Nick Bottom, the star of the show. Each member of the troupe provides their own laugh out loud moments, but Cary Davenport’s Robin Starveling playing “the moon” is an image you will never forget.
Tickets to Midsummer
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company presents William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream from November 10 to December 2. Check out CincyShakes.com for tickets that you won’t want to miss.