A Midsummer Night's Mid-Century Dream

July 29, 2013

A Midsummer Night's Mid-Century Dream

Or, If Austin Powers Did Shakespeare

I like Shakespeare, I do. Really. I’ve read enough of his plays enough times to be able to follow along enough to enjoy them. For the most part. That isn’t to say that I haven’t slept through the end of the second act (ok, the whole second act) before. But, really, I do find Shakespeare quite enjoyable. And heck, throw it on a beach with view of Lake Tahoe, and it becomes pretty amazing.

So, I was looking forward to a nice, enjoyable evening when I set out with a group of friends last night to see the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But wowie, wow…I was blown away!

This ain’t the Shakespeare at Sand Harbor from my youth. I remember being a little girl curled up in a sleeping bag on the sand, drifting in and out of sleep to the sounds of the Tempest after eating too much KFC. Yes, you can still bring your own picnic and wine, and yes, if you sit waaay up high, I think you can still spread out your own blanket. But why would you want to? They have a full restaurant and bar inside the gates, and heck, you can even reserve a café table down front to wine and dine at during the play. (I didn’t realize this beforehand and brought my own sleeping bag, which did come in handy shortly after the sun went down.)

But even more impressive than the venue was the quality of the production. A comic romp about star-crossed lovers, forest fairies, and a rag-tag theater troupe, this version of a Midsummer Night’s Dream is dressed in 1960s mod and set to a Beatles soundtrack. Sort of like if Austin Powers did Shakespeare. I’ll admit when I heard that, I was afraid it might be a little cheesy. Not at all; in fact, it was fantastic. And yeah, in general, while Brit Lit majors might snicker along to the Bard’s witticisms, I think most of us just try to keep up with the plot. Yet, last night, the acting and direction were so good the entire audience not only kept up, but actually laughed along. I even stayed awake for the whole play.

The Festival goes on through August 25th, and you can get all the info here. Then pack up a bottle of wine, a snuggly blanket, and an extra baguette, because if you’re lucky, maybe at intermission the nice ladies in front of you will trade a few homemade chocolate chip cookies for some of your brie.

- Meg