‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ At The Folger

MSNDWide

Loved it.

Went on a whim. Found some cheap tickets online, bought that day for the show that evening.

When I was a child, my mother took me to see this play, making it my first encounter with live Shakespeare. If I’m honest, I don’t really have any firm memories of it. Nor had I read the play since then, so, rather unusually, I was able to go into the performance with only the barest knowledge of the plot (star-crossed lovers, Puck, fairies, and a donkey).

The production was befittingly playful, with some fun, extra-textual touches (a lovelorn Helena introduced singing a sad song by Adele). Puck was played by Erin Weaver as less a trickster, than a pan-sexual cupid (actually, all three fairy characters were pretty hypersexed). Lovers Lysander and Hermia were twenty-something, backpacking travelers; Helena as a stylish young woman (except that when first seen, she’s wearing the sweats of a depressed and jilted lover); but Demetrius was merely… I don’t know… millennial? He didn’t really get the kind of identifying costuming that the others did.

And it ended with an onstage dance party by the cast.

There’s still time. Absolutely worth seeing. Arguably, the second best production I’ve seen at the Folger (number one has to be their amazing Richard III).

Also, because of all the extremely valuable primary documents in the exhibit hall, they opened up the library itself for wine, water, and snacks (not wanting to risk a priceless letter to Shakespeare being wine-stained). Unless you’re a legitimate scholar, you don’t get much chance to wander back there, so that was exciting.

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