With the end of the semester looming, all good things seem to be coming to an end. Fortunately, that means that the Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) has pulled off one final show, William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” to end their 2014-2015 season.
The play, directed by Dale AJ Rose, CRT’s associate artistic director and UConn’s director of performance studies, has created a chaotic, yet incredibly humorous final piece.
The storyline entwines the fate of three groups — the people of Athens, the lovers, and the fairies— into a comedic love story. After the Duke of Athens commands Hermia to submit to her father’s will and marry Demetrius, Hermia runs into the forest with her true love, Lysander. There, the king and queen of the fairies are currently residing and Peter Quince and his band of actors are practicing for their performance at the Duke’s upcoming wedding.
As one might expect, the woods become a place of comical mischief — love potions, song and dance and clothes removing fights take place.
Throughout the show, certain characters demonstrated immense talent and charm when entertaining the audience. For instance, Bottom, played by Michael Patrick Kane, was an instant favorite. He is an actor in Peter Quince’s troupe, who constantly interjects with outlandish counter offers.
Kane fully emerges into his role, acting with exaggerated motions that are perfectly natural for his character. Kane is so fully engaged with his character that when he appears with bunny ears on his head, the audience immediately accepts this new bunny-esque version. His clear voice and true control of his lines were exemplary in comparison to some of his less practiced peers.
Three men play the second most entertaining character of the night, Puck; the trio of Gabriel Aprea, Conor Donnally and Scott Redmond bring to life this mystical and misbehaving sprite. By converting this singular character into three persons, it becomes possible to fully enjoy the mischief Puck causes. Furthermore, the three nimbly fly across the stage; they appear from the ground, and disappear with stomping feet and loud songs.
They climb on one another as if the action is the most natural in the world. Their trio coalesces into a united being, which is impossible not to laugh at.
Besides the characters, the play in itself is well directed. As exemplified through the choreography of the Puck characters, Rose has created a wonderful adaptation of Shakespeare’s work. Most notably, he demonstrates the issues between the workers and the gentry with the lingering effects of the supernatural — or in this case, fairy — world.
The play undoubtedly levels the staggering hierarchy that we are supposed to see and yet, sends the audience away with a feeling that the Duke and the Fairy King have performed valiantly, as did the acting troupe. As Shakespeare would have wanted, the underlying issues are without a doubt noticeable but overwhelmed by the constant laughter of the audience.
While the play was without a doubt an enjoyable and comical experience, there were a few mishaps on opening night. The Puck characters, as great as they were, had a few missteps which were noticeable and reduced their impact in their roles. Issues with the trunk were noticeable, especially the moment when it moved from below without being prompted from above. I hope that the cast and crew of the show noticed these mistakes and will remedy them before the show’s full opening on April 24.
In either case, the CRT’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was an enjoyable experience, and a welcome escape from the academic pressures that come with the final weeks of the semester. If you have a night free from studying, I highly suggest you buy a ticket for this show, which will run through May 2.