I am a complete novice when it comes to Shakespeare since I have only read Romeo and Juliet and have seen the film adaptations, so going to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream I did not know what to expect.
The play contains three main plots that consist of the story of the lovers, the mechanicals, and the fairies, all of which merge together in the end. The lovers story begins with Hermia and Lysander wanting to marry each other against Hermia’s father’s wishes. The two run away to a forest so they can be together. The mechanicals are a group of “actors,” led by Peter Quince. They are attempting to put together a play for the Duke, with a fixated and overreaching lead “actor” named Nick Bottom. The third story is about the fairies that live in the forest and are a supernatural and invisible power that manipulate the mechanicals and lovers.
My first reaction to the stage was just surprise because the production team had pulled off a huge task and it was truly impressive. Once the play began it was a little hard for me to follow exactly what was happening, but after a couple minutes I began to understand and was following the storyline with relative ease. It was also a little difficult sometimes to get through the longer monologues of the characters that made the story kind of tedious, but did make sense in the end. As the play went on, and the events began to unfold, the comedy of the show really began to shine through, mainly with the mechanicals, but also from the fairies and lovers. Close to the end of the play is when things really became the most hilarious when the mechanicals are finally able to put on their show.
To me, I think it would be unfair to pick out a single or even a couple actors that gave the best performances because, in my opinion, they all did an excellent job. I could not pick out any major or catastrophic mistakes that happened. However, probably the most memorable parts of the play come from the mechanicals. Sebastian Smith, who plays Nick Bottom, was probably easy to pick out as far as comedy because the character is a crazy over-actor that tries too hard to impress his audience.
Smith carries out this role very well by being energetic and humorous and working up the crowd with goofy dances and songs. Along with the acting, there was a few dance routines that were well choreographed and carried out with good execution.
Possibly the most noticeable and sometimes funniest parts of the whole play, is the use of a pool built into the stage. Not only does it give a nice visual effect, but is also the place of a vicious fight between two of the lovers.
The whole production of the play should be looked on as a good step into a new direction for Missouri Western plays. The sound and music helped to build the environment, especially that of the forest and the fairies. The only problem I had with the set, was that once the actors were fully upstage, or at the bottom of the stairs near the pool, they were not well lit and were just hard to see. However, with the size of the stage and with no major set changes, the actors and actresses carried out their performances very well.
To sum it up, if someone were wanting to have a good laugh and to see a well put together and thought out performance, I would recommend people go see this show.