I'm not a huge fan of Shakespeare and I don't jump for joy when I hear about theater; in fact, the only few plays I watch are school and college production plays—only to support my friends. So you can imagine my surprise when I realized that I was actually enjoying a play by Shakespeare this summer. My friend convinced me to attend the opening ceremony of Shakespeare In The Park down at forest park in St. Louis, and I ended up having fun watching people put on a show (save for a few mosquito bites.)
While I have watched other Shakespeare plays, I didn't think I would like watching A Midsummer Night's Dream. As it turns out it was the first Shakespeare play I liked and enjoyed watching. The first reason was the play was understandable. It was easy for me to figure out what was going on with the characters, what they were saying and what they meant. This nicety came as a surprise because the Shakespearean language has always been complicated and incomprehensible to me. I was completely caught off guard when I could understand 80% of what they were saying.
The second reason I like Midsummer Night's Dream is because it is hilarious. Kudos to Shakespeare on this one. For someone who writes mostly tragedies, he was successful in bringing out the humor in what he was writing when it came to the Midsummer Night's Dream plot line. Whether it was Lysander comically running away from Helena or her following him at no end; or whether it was Hermia discovering that both Demetrius and Lysander had fallen in love with Helena, the fairies and their queen as she fell in love with a beast. A hilarious part of the play, though, is when they put on a show for the three couples; I mean does the wall know it can't speak? Or that you can only die once?
The third reason I liked this play was because of the costumes they used. I hate it when a movie or a play try to imitate the clothing style during the supposed time period and they create clothing that is hideous and completely different from what it should've resembled. This visual ends up distracting from the actual acting. The directors of the play this year opted out and just used the current style and still managed to stay within the limits of what people would have worn back then. They didn't try too hard and miss the mark, but drew the attention on the performance.
Another aspect I appreciated from this particular show is the ethnic diversity. It is a refreshing thing to see because most of the time, you only see people of the same ethnicity playing the big roles. Even when they cast people of another ethnicity, they give them minor roles or roles that fit their stereotypes. So if you live anywhere in St. Louis, are a fanatic of Shakespeare or theater, hop on down to Forest Park at night and experience the spectacle while it is still going on. Just make sure to bring bug spray, a cozy blanket and food to munch on as you enjoy amazing theater!