Their passions crossed, two lovers, Demetrius (Manny Sevilla) and Lysander (Richard Eisloeffel), taunt each other for a bubbly, red-garbed girl, Helena, their arms eagle-spread as if to say Come at me bro. The once impassioned Helena, so bouncily love-charged as to fly skyward, seems about ready to roll her eyes, a hand to her head, containing her confusion.
Never did mockers waste more idle breath.
But her dream has come true; Demetrius loves her and all it took was pollen from a purple flower. This is the Silk Road of hormones, where passions, exotic as that of a fairy for an ass, are sold. Performers stumble with graceful spunk on and off stage, often newly entranced, as if an usher, in this case, Puck (Ebby Offord), issued them rosy goggles. The Tinker Bell-like fairy seems swirled round with sparkles, her yoga pants a galaxy of stars, as she flits, knitting intricate love-knots. Her forest-bred fickleness betrays the rigid marriage laws of Athens. This same sparkly spirit infuses the love-possessed like Titania (Meredith Ernst), the fairy queen who fell once for elite Indian exoticisms and then for Bottom’s (Jack Morsovillo) donkey ears.
Midsommer Flight Embraces Camp
A modern spin on annunciation and gesture add just a light touch of irony to Shakespeare's archaisms, which, in this writer’s opinion, works in the play’s favor. It is almost as if the play-within-a-play, Pyramus and Thisbe, was made to parody the outer play itself, so designedly histrionic is Bottom’s fake death. Flute (Travis Shanahan), in a dress, tosses a red handkerchief, stand-in for bloody garbs, to be found by his pretend lover. Bottom, on finding it, stabs himself incessantly before slicing his own throat. He tries to draw torrents from the audience’s eyes, but gets giggles instead, being the buffoon antithesis of a fairy.
Fun and free, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a nice break from weighty things. If you want to laugh at someone, or yourself, or your lofty-headed former self, this may assist you.
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Richard Eisloeffel (Lysander)
Meredith Ernst (Titania/Hippolyta)
Barry Irving (Quince/Egeus, u/s Oberon)
Koshie Mills (Helena)
Jack Morsovillo (Bottom)
Ebby Offord (Puck)
Joshua Pennington (Oberon/Theseus)
Elizabeth McAnulty Quilter (Snout/Mustardseed, u/s Puck)
Manny Sevilla (Demetrius)
Travis Shanahan (Flute/Moth)
Hannah Mary Simpson (Snug/Cobweb, u/s Titania)
Alice Wu (Hermia)
Kat Zheng (Starveling/Peaseblossom, u/s Hermia).
Additional understudies are
Cameron Nalley (u/s Lysander, u/s Flute/Moth)
Rocco Renda (Quince/Egeus, Bottom)
Myah Seay (Helena, Starveling/Peaseblossom)
Martin Tebo (Demetrius, Snug/Cobweb, Snout/Mustardseed)
Director: Beth Wolf
Scenic/Props Designer: Nina Castillo-D’Angier
Composer/Music Director: Justin Cavazos
Assistant Director: Devin Christor
Season Production Manager: Giselle Durand
Text Coach: Lane Anthony Flores
Stage Manager: Hazel Marie Flowers-McCabe
Vocal Coach: Amy Malcom
Casting Director: Karissa Murrell Myers
Fight Director: Chris Smith
Costume designer: Lily Grace Walls
Intimacy Director: Maureen Yasko
Assistant Stage Manager: Anna Zaczek
Thru August 21, 2022
Sundays - 2pm
Fridays - 6pm
Saturdays - 6pm
7348 N. Paulina St.
Chicago, IL, 60626
For more information and tickets visit the Midsommer Flight website.
Photos: Steven Townshend and Tom McGrath
About the Author: Anthony Neri
An avid philosophizer and Dostoevsky fanboy, Anthony spends his time ruminating on very deep moral questions. Is he a genuine old soul or does he feign as much for the mystique?--perhaps a bit of both. When he isn't tormenting himself existentially, he reads fiction and translates ancient Greek and Latin texts, all the while developing his own literary flourishes with the hope of producing his very own dazzling prose. Cliche? Maybe. But he figures everyone starts out as a cliche.