Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival opened its 33rd season at Sen̓ákw/Vanier Park, with A Midsummer Night’s Dream and it was a ravishing night with a wonderful performance.
This production was the first one for the company back in 1990 and it was only fitting that they bring it back to begin this season after two dark summers during the pandemic. It is a joyful story that is perfect for all ages, it is full of laughter and love and is uplifting and I am sure that it will be a summer hit. This year the production adds a twist of sorts that I am sure many will enjoy.
Shakespeare’s comic masterpiece, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, follows four young lovers and a troupe of stumbling actors into an enchanted wood, on a journey of discovery to find out who they are, whom they love, and why it matters. They enter an alternate world where the natural and supernatural have merged and elves, goblins, and talking trees guide the way. Dream is directed by veteran Bard director and actor Scott Bellis (director – The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2017; Bottom – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2014).
As the story goes, Oberon, King of the Fairies (Billy Marchenski) is upset with his Queen Titania (Kate Besworth) and commands the mischievous fairy Puck (Sarah Roa) to charm her with a nectar that causes love-at-first sight. Puck arranges for Titania to become beguiled by a simple worker named Bottom (Carly Street). Meanwhile at court, Hermia (Heidi Damayo) loves Lysander (Olivia Hutt) but her father, Egeus (Joey Lespérance), insists she marry Demetrius (Christopher Allen), who in turn is loved by Hermia’s friend Helena (Emily Dallas)! – and the stage is set for confusion and chaos. The young lovers run away to the forest where Puck further entangles their affections by using the magic potion. Adding to the play’s humour are a group of hapless tradespeople – Peter Quince (Richard Newman), Starveling (Joey Lespérance), Snout (Isaac George-Hotchkiss), Flute (Munish Sharma) and Snug (Advah Soudack) – who are rehearsing a play they hope to present during the celebrations for the wedding of Duke Theseus (Ian Butcher) and the Amazon Queen, Hippolyta (Melissa Oei). Queen Titania’s fairies include Emily Bosak, Emma Mieback, Polina Olshevska, Elyza Samson, Shäolin Temrick-Young, and Anna Wang-Albini. Supporting characters are played by Genevieve Fleming, Karthik Kadam and Ashley O’Connell.
Performance details and Special Events for A Midsummer Night’s Dream are:
· A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs Tuesdays through Sundays from June 8 to September 24 on the BMO Mainstage. Previews: June 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15; OPENS: June 16
· Bard-B-Q & Fireworks – July 23, July 27 & July 30 – See A Midsummer Night’s Dream, then enjoy a delicious barbecue with all the fixings from Emelle’s Catering, plus pre-Fireworks entertainment. End the night with a private view of the spectacular Celebration of Light fireworks; this all-inclusive package offers outstanding Fireworks-event value.
· Family Days / Relaxed Performances – July 17 & August 14 at 2pm – Family Day and Relaxed Performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream offer an open attitude towards audience members moving, making noise, and exiting/entering the auditorium freely. Age restrictions are also relaxed.
· Accessible Performances: VocalEye – August 20 at 7:30 pm & August 28 at 2pm – A Midsummer Night’s Dream on both dates.
The play runs through September 26 on the BMO Mainstage and is directed by Bard Artistic Associate, Scott Bellis. Tickets: 604-739-0559 or https://bardonthebeach.org/.