N.J. THEATER REVIEW
We’ve learned what we are going to get at the outdoor stage of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. We are going to see one of Shakespeare’s comedies, honed to a fast-paced 90 minutes, characters whipping up and down stone aisles, popping up all over a colorful set and racing full tilt at entrances and exits.
We will be able to hear, and understand, every word in the replica of the ancient Greek theatre, nestled into the hillside of the bucolic campus of The College of St. Elizabeth – partly from the sheer talent of the professional company; partly from the acoustical magic of the space itself.
The production is the world’s most popular comedy – “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” crammed with lovers and mischievous fairies and Athenian workmen, determined to please, the dream can take on magical qualities of its own. Toss in low prices (courtesy of support by Bank of America) and you have a stunning summer evening.
Cameron Watson is back in Madison for his third summer season to direct (and with wonderful memories of last summer’s success, “I Capture The Castle.”) His touch is everywhere—from the hilarious reactions of the cast whenever a stray airplane flies over the campus from the nearby airport to the bantering asides between actors and the spectators as the tale unfolds. In fact, beg for a plane to wander overhead during the show. And also notice that when the fairies sing, no singing coach is listed as responsible.
You will have your own favorites among the company. Mine included: Nitya Vidyyasagar, who plays the dual roles of Hippolyta and Titania, Queen of the fairies. And Josh Carpenter in the male counterpart roles (Theseus and Oberon) a very brash and delightful Seamus Mulcahy, as Puck. Rebecca Mozo and Emily Kunkel, as the female duo of lovers (Hermia and Helena.) And Brian Cade and Jack Moran, as the male lovers, Demetrius and Lysander.
Plus the “mechanicals,” the workmen of Athens, led by the literate Peter Quince (John Hickok), and Nick Bottom (Robert Clohessy), Francis Flute (James Russell), Starveling (Zach Fineblum), Snout (Conner Carew), and Snug (Stewart Schneck). And the fairies—Katie Van Rensalier, Samantha Blain, Dylan Digel, Travis Johnson, Jennifer Mogbock and Maggie Schweppe.