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William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Is a Marvelous Moonstruck Comedy

Titania woos Bottom in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (photo by Richard Termine)

N.C. State University Center Stage will present the Aquila Theatre’s provocative production of Elizabethan poet and playwright William Shakespeare’s marvelous moonstruck comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, written circa 1594-96 and directed for the New York City-based theater company by Kenn Sabberton, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 14th, in the 800-seat Stewart Theatre on the second floor of the Talley Student Center on the NCSU campus in Raleigh, NC.

According to the Aquila Theatre’s website:

“For the 2010-11 season, Aquila Theatre presents Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This timeless comedy has delighted audiences for centuries, and Aquila’s imaginative interpretation will renew the magic of Shakespeare’s plot.

“Set against a classical Athenian backdrop, A Midsummer Night’s Dream deals with the universal theme of love, and its attendant complications: passion, lust, frustration, depression, confusion, and, of course, marriage. Aquila weaves a web of theatrical magic that will take an audience to the heart of an enchanted forest, the injustice of the Athenian court, and the political strife of the fairy kingdom.

“The plot focuses on the trials and experiences of two sets of lovers, the Fairy King and Queen [Andrew French as Oberon and Jessica Tomchak as Titania] and their servants, and a group of rude mechanicals [Sarah Amankwah as Snug the Joiner, Matthew Clancy as Tom Snout the Tinker, Howard Crossley as Nick Bottom the Weaver, Andrew Finch as Peter Quince the Carpenter, Alinka Wright as Robin Starveling the Tailor, and Owen Young as Francis Flute the Bellows-Mender] attempting to stage a production of ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’ for the wedding of the Duke of Athens [Andrew French as Theseus].

“At the heart of the story is the Fairy King’s servant, the impish Puck [Sarah Amankwah], whose magic creates an endless supply of mirth, mistaken identity, and inappropriate, if not absolutely ludicrous passions.

“Aquila’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been praised by The New York Times as: ‘Timely and pleasing … this “Dream” soothes the eye and tickles the funny bone.’

“Aquila’s comedic mastery, physical ensemble techniques, and proven successes with their critically acclaimed productions of Shakespeare promise that this will be a Dream you won’t soon forget.”

Besides Oberon, Andrew French also portrays Theseus and Peter Quince. In addition to Titania, Jessica Tomchak portrays Hippolyta and Helena.

Sarah Amankwah, who plays Snug the Joiner and Puck, also portrays Philostrate, Lion, and Peaseblossom; Matthew Clancy, who plays Tom Snout, also portrays Demetrius, Wall, and Cobweb; Howard Crossley, who plays Nick Bottom, also portrays, Egeus and Pyramus; Alinka Wright, who plays Robin Starveling, also portrays Hermia, Moth, and Moonshine; and Owen Young, who plays Francis Flute, also portrays Lysander, Mustardseed, and Thisbe.

In addition to director Kenn Sabberton, who co-designed the production with Aquila Theatre artistic director Peter Meineck, the creative team for A Midsummer Night’s Dream includes production manager Nate Terracio, company technical director Kevin Shaw, lighting designers Peter Meineck and Kevin Shaw, and costumiers Heidi Buckingham and Louise Handford.

N.C. State University Center Stage presents A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, performed by the Aquila Theatre, at 8 p.m. Oct. 14 Stewart Theatre on the second floor of the Talley Student Center, 2610 Cates Ave., Raleigh, North Carolina 27695.

TICKETS: $24-$28.

BOX OFFICE: 919/515-1100 or http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?organ_val=22089&event_val=MIDS.

SHOW: http://www.ncsu.edu/centerstage/currentseason/aquila.html.

PRESENTER: http://www.ncsu.edu/centerstage/.

VENUE: http://www.ncsu.edu/arts/stewart/index.html.

PARKING/DIRECTIONS: http://www.ncsu.edu/student_center/driving_directions.html.

NOTE: There will be a preshow discussion with a member of Aquila Theatre at 7 p.m. in Room 110 of the Price Music Center.

OTHER LINKS:

Aquila Theatre: http://aquilatheatre.com/ (official website).

The Show: http://aquilatheatre.com/touring/a-midsummer-nights-dream/ (official website).

The Tour: http://aquilatheatre.com/touring/ (official website).

The Play (e-text): http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/ShaMNDF.html (1623 First Folio, edited by John Heminges and Henry Condell, courtesy the University of Virginia) and http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/MobMids.html (1866 Globe Edition, edited by William George Clark and William Aldis Wright, also courtesy UVa).

Study Guide: http://www.bard.org/education/studyguides/Midsummer/nights.html (Utah Shakespearean Festival).

Shakespeare Resources: http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/index.html (University of Victoria and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada).

Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This review is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

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