Director Chris Abraham's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream could have been expressly designed to push every single button possessed by Shakespearean purists. It plays with the text, adding lines to establish a framing device setting the play as an entertainment put on to celebrate the wedding of a gay couple. Lysander is played by a woman and as a woman, making Hermia's father's objection to his daughter's marriage a comment on marriage equality. Titania is played as a woman, but by one of two rather muscular men.
There are cell phones, pop songs, food fights, sight gags, and an on-stage pond that numerous people fall into. It's cluttered and overwhelming and OH MY GOODNESS IT IS SO MUCH FUN. I have never been a particular fan of A Midsummer Night's Dream, apart from the Pyramus and Thisbe bit, but this production instantly won a place in my heart. It is so full of joy, so full of fun, and is such an open celebration of love that, appropriately enough, I fell in love with it.
If you want "traditional" Shakespeare (whatever that might be), this is probably not the production for you. But if you want A LOT OF PURE, UNADULTERATED FUN wrapped up in a Shakespeare-shaped package, I can't think of a better thing to do than to see this show.
Is that enough gushing for now? Check back on Friday when I'll take a look at some of the non-Shakespearean productions. Also, take a look at my other Stratford Festival comics!