The Alley Theater Company along with theaters across the globe is celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare with different productions and performances centered around Shakespeare’s legacy. The largest production is A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Gregory Boyd and features Alley Theater’s Company actors.
Shakespeare is not for everyone – there are long monologues in old English which are sometimes hard to understand and many different characters to follow. However this has many physical moments on stage which make this rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream a bit easier to handle. One of the best things about the Alley Theater’s production is the live music onstage. Ryan Chavez and Mike Whitebread do a wonderful job of bringing the performance to life with their music and sounds. They are placed high up above the stage, so that if you are not looking for them you might not even notice they are there.
The set design is modern, a bit edgy and a little more sparse than most Alley Theater productions, but maybe that is the “modern twist” the set designers decided to put on this 400 year old play. The costumes vary between traditional English garb, modern day street clothes and rock and roll costumes, which makes it easy to tell who is who because each character is very distinct. Puck, the mischievous elf and central character in the play made a grand entrance that all the ladies will enjoy – his costume only consists of pants and a very defined physique. The cast of Alley Theater Company actors are delightful, as always. Josie de Guzman, Elizabeth Bunch and Melissa Pritchett head up a cast of strong women with great monologs and comedic moments.
Although A Midsummer Night’s Dream is enjoyable and different – definitely a good introduction to Shakespeare’s work, the Alley Theater is celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare in many different ways. Shakespeare Saturdays will feature a matinee for families where they are invited behind the scenes to learn about the characters and art behind Shakespeare’s plays. Artist Talkbacks will be held on certain Tuesday and Saturday performance immediately after the show and offer the audience an opportunity to ask the cast questions about the show. Alley in Context offers post show talks from distinguished academics and professionals who will discuss the play its themes and how they are reflected in our lives today.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs through November 5th. For more information on ticket prices or Shakespeare 400 visit alleytheater.org.