The latest production out of the Frog and Peach Theatre Company is William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The production is timely for your winter woes and last-minute Valentine’s Day plans. The production’s intimate venue and reimagined storytelling make for a bold and refreshing look at “the bank where wild thyme blows.”
For those who forgot the story or never read the play in high school, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” follows the interconnected events of its ensemble cast, which includes the fairy King Oberon (Erick Gonzalez), his Queen Titania (Amy Frances Quint), the mischievous Puck (Marcus Watson), the hapless Bottom (Kevin Hauver), as well as lovers Hermia (Alyssa Diamond), Helena (Bess Miller), Lysander (Edan Jacob Levy) and Demetrius (Kyle Primack).
Shakespeare plays often intimidate audiences for their highly stylized language and inability to directly relate to modern times. This ideology is exactly what the Frog and Peach Theatre Company works so hard to absolve.
The Frog and Peach was found in 2011 to produce a creative and down-to-earth venue to view classics for everyday audiences. The theater company has tackled well-known works such as “Macbeth” and “Hamlet,” where they stick to the script but take artistic liberties here and there.
“Part of our mission is to show that Shakespeare’s plays have much to offer modern American audiences,” Lynnea Benson, director and founder of the Frog and Peach Theatre said to WSN. “Titania’s ‘Act II, Scene 1 speech’ is about the seasons and weather changing as a result of her argument with Oberon. This struck many of us as a timely starting place for some ideas.”
Benson was getting at the unnoticed parallels between Shakespeare’s words and today, like themes of sexual politics, climate change and even the supernatural.
“A Midsummer’s Night Dream” is one of the funniest, most mischievous plays Shakespeare wrote, and the Sheen Center’s intimate performance space greatly enhanced the experience. The audience is right there with the actors, just a mere foot from the action.
While this close proximity may seem like a drawback for some directors, Benson was eager to produce there.
“I never once felt stuck,” Benson said. “The Sheen Center is a lovely venue. The catwalks provide a lot of opportunities for staging smaller scenes of romance, conspiracy and eavesdropping. There’s a lot of that in Shakespeare.”
Benson cites Shakespeare’s work as “revolutionary,” “funny” and “exciting,” and her Frog and Peach production is nothing less. Shakespeare can be intimidating, but thanks to directors like Benson, it’s not.
The Frog and Peach Theatre Company’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is currently running at the Sheen Center through Feb. 25.
Tickets can be purchased at http://frogandpeachtheatre.org. NYU Students can apply code PUCK for a discounted price.
Email Brooke LaMantia at [email protected]