David Heron To Play Oberon/Theseus In Colonial Theatre's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
Award winning actor and playwright David Heron has been cast in the pivotal roles of Oberon, King of the Fairies and Theseus, Duke of Athens in the Colonial Theatre of Rhode Island's Shakespeare in The Park production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
The production will open in Rhode Island's historic Wilcox Park in Westerly on Friday August 2 and is slated to run till Sunday August 18.
A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of Shakespeare's most renowned and iconic comedies and is a popular staple among theatre companies across the USA for outdoor summer productions.
The play follows the adventures of four star crossed lovers from Athens who escape into a nearby forest in pursuit of marriage and romance only to fall under the spell of the magical forest king Oberon and his loyal wizard, the fairy Puck. A series of hilarious adventures ensues with spells going awry and several cases of mistaken identity before all comes right in the end.
In the Colonial Theatre's revelatory new production, directed by Canadian Michael Scholar Jr, the entire story of the play is seen through the eyes of a child, who escapes her unhappy home life by reading it as a fairytale in her bedroom. All the play's characters then come magically to life as the tale unfolds.
It is Scholar's unique approach to the material that most intrigues Heron, a Shakespeare veteran who has also appeared Off Broadway and regionally in many other Shakespearean productions including Romeo and Juliet , The Winter's Tale, The Tempest, Hamlet, Othello and Coriolanus.
"Obviously the roles of Oberon and Theseus - which are very often married together and played by one actor in productions of Midsummer- are absolutely iconic, immensely challenging, and a huge addition to any actor's resume," he says. "But Michael's idea to frame the story as a fairytale unfolding through the eyes of a child really excited me. The play, though comedic in nature, does have some very important things to say about love, forgiveness, and- being largely set in a forest- about the environment too. Since our children will ultimately inherit the world we leave behind, to see the child in this production learning these lessons as the audience does is a uniquely moving and satisfying experience."
The Jamaican born Heron also finds a bit of irony in playing a king who practices spells and magic and whose name is Oberon, since the practice of dark magic in his own home country is known as Obeah.
" When I told Michael and the cast that in Jamaica, a man who practices witchcraft is called an 'Obeah Man,' it seemed really logical that I should play Oberon as just that- a kind of Jamaican king of the forest who uses his other worldly powers to manipulate others. So I think that puts a pretty unique spin on the story as well, that I'm sure audiences will enjoy."
Joining Heron in the cast are Jen Olivares (Titania/Hippolyta), Nora Fox (Puck) , Henry Gardner (Lysander), Alana Rader (Helena), Anna Paratore (Hermia), Daniel Taylor Duren (Demetrius), Marion Markham (Quince), Lori Evans (Egeus/ Starveling) and Karack Osborn (Bottom).
The cast also includes Chris Cornwell, Erica Phoebus, Patrick Mark Saunders, Grace West and Truly Siskind Weiss.
The Colonial Theatre of Rhode Island is the state's official Shakespeare Theatre Company and has been presenting free Shakespeare in the Park productions in Westerly for some three decades.
A Midsummer Night's Dream runs Tuesdays through Sundays at 7:30pm from August 2 through 18 and is free and open to the public.
Further information is available at: https://www.colonialtheatreri.org/