Tuesday, July 23, 2024

When Bard Meets Usher: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Reimagined at Coronado Playhouse

Photo by Ken Jacques

Imagine a world where the whimsical enchantment of William Shakespeare’s beloved “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” collides with a Medieval version of Usher’s “Yeah!” and a cameo of a-ha’s “Take On Me.” This isn’t just a fever dream of a Shakespearean scholar slash pop music aficionado: It’s the reality of Coronado Playhouse’s latest offering in their 28th annual Free Classic Series. Through March 30th, audiences are invited to experience this family-friendly blend of classic literature with contemporary tweaks. And with familiar faces like actress Kara Tuckfield, who CPH patrons may recognize from “All Bark, No Bite,” this rendition is sure to ‘run a smooth course’ for playgoers.

Step into Coronado Playhouse — currently a wooded fairy world lit by moonlight and tinkering sprites — and you’re no longer bound by the mundane laws of reality. Welcome instead to a realm where fantasy and nature conspire to bewitch your senses. With trees that hold centuries of secrets and a canopy of stars that twinkle over a misguided bunch of teenagers in love, a jealous King of the Fairies, and jesters alike, the set design is nothing short of a magical coup. It turns Shakespeare’s ethereal woodland into an immersive experience that makes the centuries-old dialect more approachable. The modern twist? It’s like someone left a door open to the 21st century with the brief appearance of an iPhone or two, plaid flannels, and a whole lot of lovin’. Here, the extended stage acts like an invitation to blur the lines between fairy mischief and the audience, making every seat the best in the house. Who knew a night with Shakespeare could feel so avant-garde?

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a vibrant fusion that Bard loyalists and the everyday person will enjoy. Rich in creativity and charm, it’s proof that Shakespeare knows how to throw a party that spans the ages. Photo by Ken Jacques

What sets this “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” apart is the genius “Bridgerton”-esque juxtaposition of Elizabethan prose with chart-topping melodies. These small moments don’t take away from the play’s original premise but instead act as a bridge across time, proving that love’s folly and the quest for happiness are as universal now as they were in Shakespeare’s time. Whether it’s the love square between Hermia, Helena, Lysander, and Demetrius; the quarrel between Oberon and Titania; the mischievous sprite Puck; or the tradesman practicing for their play-within-a-play, there is something relatable to all in the crowd.

Diving into the talent pool, the witty and charming ensemble cast of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” deserved their standing ovation from a packed house on Friday night. Each actor seemed sprinkled with some of Puck’s own fairy dust as they turned Shakespeare’s words into a living spectacle, seamlessly transitioning from dramatic soliloquies to comedic antics. Don’t miss especially Hunter M. Brown as Puck, Jon Hewitt as Bottom, and Alyssa Anne Austin as Titania.

For anyone sitting on the fence wondering if Shakespeare can truly speak to audiences of today, this production is your answer. And with the clock ticking towards March 30th, be sure to check out Coronado Playhouse’s website for available dates. Your enchantment awaits!

Caroline Minchella
Caroline Minchella
Caroline was 15 years old when her family moved to Coronado. Though she was a “transplant”, Caroline found a home in the Coronado community near-immediately: she became an intern for “The Coronado Times”; helped reinstate the CHS newspaper, “The Islander Times”; was a volunteer dog-walker for PAWS; and a faithful Concert in the Park attendee.After completing her BA in English at the University of California Santa Barbara, she went on to craft answers for Amazon Alexa devices and write creatively on the side. Fast forward seven years, Caroline is thrilled to return as a Reporter for “The Coronado Times.” Have a story for The Coronado Times to cover? Send news tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

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