A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Heart of Manhattan (Free Theatre!)

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

gorilla rep theater midsummer
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!

gorilla rep theater washington square park

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.

gorilla rep theater midsummer lovers

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??

gorilla rep theater oberon

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gorilla rep theater midsummer washington squareThe 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!

washington square park moon

About New York Cliche

NYC lifestyle blog by Mary Lane. Events, adventures, epic mistakes, dating, life, humor. A 20-something trying to make it (and make out) in the city of dreams.

10 thoughts on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Heart of Manhattan (Free Theatre!)

  1. I have to admit, I love the idea of NYC but I don’t fully understand NYC. A place of such culture, a place of such diversity and no one who reads this blog attended this event? Even if you didn’t, no comments on the wonderful availability of a free production of such an amazing play? A play by a renowned 17th century playwright? A play that inspired Sir Terry Pratchett’s “Lords and Ladies”..Which definitely should be read. No comments on the inspirational review?…..What’s that you say? Kim Kardashian has a new dress?….

    1. We’re overwhelmed by possibility here. I’d say there are at least 5 Shakespearian plays performing on any evening in Manhattan (except Mondays). Wish you could come see it!

      1. Arghh…I Posted twice. This is the the third time. The problem is that I was trying to find the correct diacritical marks on my keyboard. Please forgive me.

  2. hey thanks for the awesome write up! I have a correction for you: Greg Petroff is a Gorilla Rep company member and directed this year’s production of Midsummer. The Artistic Director of Gorilla Rep is Christopher Carter Sanderson.
    -Puck

  3. Your description of ending the summer with witnessing an outdoor production of Midsummer Night’s Dreams sounds like a ball. As a “theater nerd,” your assessment of what would be simple for the general audience to keep up with should carry some weight.

  4. Outdoor Shakespeare productions in New York on a full moon sounds like the perfect way to spend a relaxing night out. Thanks for sharing these photos!

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