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BWW Review: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM by The Seeing Place Theatre

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A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM by The Seeing Place Theatre has proven that there is always time for playful and socially relevant interpretations of this classic comedy.

BWW Review: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM by The Seeing Place TheatreIt might be closing in on fall, but the online production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM by The Seeing Place Theatre has proven that there is always time for playful and socially relevant interpretations of this classic comedy. The live zoom production is available on Sunday, August 30th at 3pm eastern and 12pm pacific time.

The show is one that lends itself to interpretation, it has wild reversals, magic potions, and much frolicking and mischief from the faerie kingdom. Often this fun obscures the fact that the residents within it are controlling and not very nice. After all, Thesus the Duke brags about having "wooed" his bride Hippolyta at the point of a weapon, Hermia's father Egeus brings his daughter Hermia before the Duke to force her into a marriage with Demetrius she doesn't want, and the Duke threatens Hermia with death if she doesn't comply with her father's wishes. That's just in the first few minutes!

What the Seeing Place Theatre does that is really smart is that they use the elements within the show, and a few modern touches to show how much the modern world and prejudices have in common with a play written over 400 years ago.

One of the modern interpretations is involving multiple LGTBQIA+ storylines, which only highlight the themes of a controlling society, not being able to love who you want, and the dangers that can occur when people have no safe haven.

Hermia (Ellinor DiLorenzo) and Lysander (Weronika Helena Wozniak) love each other, but aren't allowed to marry because same sex relationships aren't allowed and Hermia's father has already promised her to Demetrius (William Ketter).

Helena (Erin Cronican) who finds out the lovers are planning to run away, tells Demetrius in hopes of regaining his lost affection towards her, and they both follow into the forest.

All of these unhappy couples have caught the attention of Oberon (Brandon Walker) King of the fairies, and someone who is having romance issues of his own with his wife Titania (Laura Clare Browne). Both sides have their own crazy, woodland fairies, who are non-boinary because why would fantastical,magic creatures limit themselves to being any one type of anything?

When struck by the idea of helping these couples fall in love by using the nectar of a magical flower Oberon can't resist also sending his fairy Puck (Jon L. Peacock) to do the same to Titania causing her to fall in love with Bottom (Dan Mack) an actor who was in the woods for rehearsal with his troupe.

The proceeds from this reading will benefit the Ali Forney Center, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to protecting LGBTQ youth from the harms of homelessness. This is even more apt as Hermia and Lysander end up homeless in the forest when their plans to go to an aunt's house fail at the beginning of the play.

While these welcome changes provide great strides for representation, what's most notable about them is how it doesn't change the impact of the original text. It's a play about delightful romantic possibility, after all there are clearly no limitations to a flower fueled magic potion.

The cast performances are strong, with lots of laughs, and relationships build satisfyingly among the characters. Performed over a live Zoom link the casts fine performances are aided by the technology at hand to great effect. Background sets, and even special effects are achieved when the fairies are on screen, and when Bottom is magically transformed.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM reading by The Seeing Place Theatre has a second performance on Sunday, August 30th at 3pm eastern and 12pm pacific time. For tickets please go to www.theseeingplace.com

These readings are being presented as a benefit for Ali Forney Center (AliForneyCenter.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting LGBTQ youths from the harms of homelessness and empowering them with the tools needed to live independently. Proceeds from tickets (starting at $10) will be donated directly to AFC.

CAST (in order of appearance):

Theseus/Oberon................................................................Brandon Walker* Hippolyta/Titania...............................................................Laura Clare Browne Egeus/Puck.........................................................................Jon L Peacock* Hermia/Snout/Cobweb...................................................Ellinor DiLorenzo Lysander/Starvling/Moth................................................Weronika Helena Wozniak Demetrius/Flute/First Fairy.............................................William Ketter Helena/Quince/Peaseblossom.......................................Erin Cronican*

Bottom/Second Fairy.........................................................Dan Mack

* indicates member of Actors' Equity Association

Photo credit: Seeing Place Theatre



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From This Author E.H. Reiter