Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: A Shakespearean Run with Food and Fun: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

Review: A Shakespearean Run with Food and Fun: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM There are certain truths in life that, whether we dream or be awake, still hold true; the subject of love, in all its splendor and glory, is no different. As Shakespeare wrote so well, "The course of true love never did run smooth." Now, this is the premise for both comedy and tragedy alike, telling the story of two people so enamored with the other that something dramatic is bound to happen. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, to say that things to do not smoothly is a bit of a comical understatement.

In a world of fairies and actors, lovers and the not-so-loved, with magic flowers that can bend the will of any who slumber on, love is both true and a playful farce all at once. The irony of magic in Shakespeare's masterpiece is that it is much less romantic than you would think; love is treated more as a game, disguised as a less-than-pleasant dream from which everyone awakens happy. Shakespeare in the Square's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream is, simply put, a theatrical dream come true - one that we don't need to wake up from to enjoy our happy ending. Oh...did I mention there was food?

Directed by Dan Hasse and in association with the Access Theater, which has given rise to youthful, unique productions for the last twenty-six years, A Midsummer Night's Dream is the most fun you will have at any Shakespearean production for an endless number of reasons. Not only does this unbelievable and versatile cast of six bring out the wackiness of this work, they are able to harbor the more emotional side of it through the unique means of food and song; they complement tradition with modern creativity, and it is truly as magical as I would imagine Shakespeare intended his play to be. I unfortunately can't call myself a fan of Shakespeare, but after seeing this production, I now have a model whose example all other future productions could follow. I always say that some of the best theater does not have to be on Broadway, and this is a true example of exactly what that means.

As the audience walks onto the stage to take their seats, they are welcomed into an intimate space with creaking floorboards - a place where creativity is about to take place. The cast soon takes its place on stage, and with guitar, broom or shaker in hand, starts to play songs that, in hindsight, reflect the different emotional aspects of this show; my favorite had to be their rendition of "Linger" by the Cranberries. Once the music stops and the lights dim, the magic of Shakespeare's plot happens. Review: A Shakespearean Run with Food and Fun: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

To sum it all up, Hermia is in love with Lysander, whom her father does not particularly like; instead, he wishes her to marry Demetrius. Helena loves Demetrius, who wishes she would just go away. The fairy king Oberon wishes for his wife Titania's attention after a young Indian boy has diverted it from him. A group of actors must bring the tragic tale of Pyramus and Thisbe to life for Theseus' planned wedding celebration. So much jealousy and manipulation, confusion and angst for a love that won't naturally occur; this is given such emotional height with the presence of food. From biting into an onion to angrily tearing the skin off an orange, to using whipped cream to write with and wafers to build a wall, the creativity of this show is amazing. There are also moments where you wonder if the actor standing right next to you is going to get that green stringy thing stuck in your hair.

This production is so well rounded as a whole, to say the very least. From the brilliant use of food (for both emotional efficiency and humor) to how each actor brings such versatility to the stage and such nuance to their characters, the hard work of this entire process is seen from beginning to end. There were so many memorable moments throughout the show, such as when Bottom turns into an ass. The transformation is so crazy and perfect; this is what it means to perfect the art of acting to the point where the crazy becomes comfortable - where it looks effortless and uninhibited. Other great moments can be seen in the unique way the direction and acting come together to create this special production. Actors transition from different characters to inanimate objects, from actors to musicians as quickly as the guitar is handed over, and throw food like children while reciting Shakespearean lines with as much conviction as I ever need to see. Such versatility and talent needs to be commended, and I really admire the effort put into this production from all those involved.

Credit goes to all those in the cast: Felix Birdie, Kimberly Chatterjee, Estefania Giraldo, Beth Ann Hopkins, Constantine Malahias and Rebeca Miller are, simply put, awesome! Kudos as well to Assistant Director Samantha Hosi, Musical Director Jorge Morales, Scenic/Prop Designer Angelina Margolis, Lighting Designer Timothy Meola, Costume Designer Richard Aaron Reynoso, Choreographer Chloe Troast, Stage Manager Julianne Graffeo, Assistant Stage Manager Lindsay Kipnis, and all other involved behind the scenes.

Review: A Shakespearean Run with Food and Fun: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM So even if the course of love does not run smooth, as Shakespeare wrote, it will be easy enough to fall in love with this production.

A Midsummer Night's Dream, presented by Shakespeare in the Square at the Access Theater Gallery Space), will run August 7th to August 19th; the theater is located at 380 Broadway. The performance schedule is Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8pm. Tickets are $45, $30 for patrons under 30 (with a valid ID) and $20 for students (with a valid ID). Tickets are available for purchase at

Enjoy the show!

Photo Credit: Emilio Madrid-Kuser

The Why Collective to Present WORDS OF THE PROPHETS at The Cell Theatre Photo
The Why Collective will present a workshop premiere of Words of the Prophets by Vayl Larkin from April 21-23, 2023, at Nancy Manocherian's the cell theatre.

BLISS STREET Recounts NYs 70s Rock & Roll History At Theater for the New City Photo
'Bliss Street' is a new musical recounting a significant chapter of New York's iconic 70's Rock & Roll history.  It documents the life and legacy of Paul Sub, who founded and ran a succession of New York music clubs in the 1970's.

The Playwrights Gate Presents The World Premiere Production Of HIDDEN Written And Directed Photo
THE PLAYWRIGHTS' GATE has announced the world premiere production of HIDDEN, written and directed by Marc Weiner.

Harlem Stage to Present 2023 Edition of E-MOVES in April Photo
Harlem Stage will present the 2023 edition of E-Moves, the institution’s signature dance series, which for more than 20 years has convened choreographers, dancers, artists, and musicians of color in an exploration of movement and message.

From This Author - Kristen Morale

Kristen was born and raised in Brooklyn, and is a graduate of both Saint Francis College and Hunter College, with degrees in English and Musical Theatre. She enjoys going to any show, from com... (read more about this author)

February 25, 2023

What did our critic think of SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at Theater2020?

Review: YOU'RE GONNA LOVE TOMORROW! at Theater2020Review: YOU'RE GONNA LOVE TOMORROW! at Theater2020
October 21, 2022

You're gonna truly love tomorrow, and it starts with what you're doing tonight!

Review: LET ME COOK FOR YOU: THE TRILOGY at TheaterlabReview: LET ME COOK FOR YOU: THE TRILOGY at Theaterlab
September 19, 2022

Family is truly everything, regardless of who you are or where you happen to come from. Sunday dinner at home with loved ones, sharing an end of the workweek meal with friends, or even among complete strangers - perhaps those who happened to attend the same show one evening, seated beside you in an intimate New York space with the intention of making their weekend count. People from all walks of life who have chosen to embrace a single perspective and similar scope of vision within the confines of a theater, ready to be swept away from reality for ever so brief a time.

Review: PANDEMONIUM at Theater For The New CityReview: PANDEMONIUM at Theater For The New City
September 9, 2022

Recently concluding its run at both the People’s Improv Theater (PIT) and Theater for the New City in New York City, Pandemonium is a new show written by Claude Solbik that, beneath its comical nature, questions whether our fate is truly written for us. A whimsical tale of swashbuckling pirates, trips to the stars and fairy tale romances, Pandemonium combines fact with fiction through the possibilities and new beginnings that reality brings.

Previews: THE FANTASTICKS at The Cape PlayhousePreviews: THE FANTASTICKS at The Cape Playhouse
September 3, 2022

The Cape Playhouse, the country’s longest running professional summer theater, will end its exciting 2022 summer season with its upcoming production of 'The Fantasticks'. What better way to round out a fantastic repertoire of shows, and who better than the Playhouse to bring the longest running musical in world history to a Cape Cod stage? Undoubted to leave as lasting an impression on Cape audiences, 'The Fantasticks' is set to run from September 7th -17th at the iconic Dennis, MA theater.