It’s the last week of summer. We’re all feeling the time-crunch to get in one last beach day, one more wear of our adorable romper (that might be out of style next July), a final iced coffee before Pumpkin Spice Takeover. If you’re a giant theatre geek like me, you may feel a hollow emptiness you can’t quite explain. For the true Theatre Nerd, it isn’t summer unless you see a production of Midsummer. If you’re in NYC for Labor Day weekend, Gorilla Rep Theater‘s outdoor production in Washington Square Park can make these Midsummer Night’s Dreams come true.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Washington Square Park
The back drop is sometimes the Washington Square Park arch. Other scenes were set in the playground in the southwest corner of the park, and still others against the NYU campus. The audience follows the energetic, capable actors from scene to scene, making the viewer feel like their running through the woods and participating in the fairy madness. The dialogue never drags and the production never coddles the audience. You’ll keep up!
The action is lit by flashlights, the costumes are simple white ensembles that are grass stained by the time the actors take their bows. There’s nothing fancy about Gorilla Rep’s production, no gimmick or re-imagining. Director Gregory Petroff lets the words of the Bard captain this ship bound for Fairyland. It is a simple production, perfectly delightful for a night of free entertainment in the heart of our concrete jungle.
You get everything you expect from a production of Midsummer: dramatic lovers’ spats, magical fairies, a charismatic Puck, a hilarious donkey’s ass, and a ridiculous play with in a play. There’s a reason I’ve seen nearly a dozen productions of this play, in addition to countless scene studies, being cast in a production or two, and even teaching the play to middle schoolers. It’s Shakespeare’s easiest, lightest entertainment, readily accessible by Theatre Nerds and Average Joes alike.
Who doesn’t love magic and fairies??
The final performances are this weekend: Thursday September 1st, Friday September 2nd, Saturday September 3rd, and Sunday September 4th. All performances are at 8 p.m. in the southwest corner of Washington Square Park. With the cast is costumed in white, they’re hard to miss! And remember, it’s FREE! Check it out and get your Shakespeare in the park fix before summer ends.?Further info at Gorilla Reps website.
I was lucky enough to go the night of the full moon, which made the whole experience even more magical. Don’t worry, none of the action of the play takes place in the fountain, this was just the best view of the moon!