“The course of true love never did run smooth,” Lysander tells us in the beginning of Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” setting the tone for a romp in an enchanted forest with comical fairies, a play within a play, and other diversions before the lovers (Lysander and Hermia) are finally united in marriage.
GCC’s Theatre Arts Department skillfully stages the three plot ines of Shakespeare’s comedy: that of Lysander and Demetrius vying for the love of Hermia, the wood fairies, and the laborers who struggle to produce a play for the Duke of Athens.
An Athenian nobleman commands the Duke of Athens to force his daughter Hermia (Elizabeth Walker) to marry Demetrius (Pablo Antonio Sanchez).
This would be great if Hermia were in love with Demetrius. But, much to her father’s dismay, Hermia’s heart belongs to Lysander (Brian Keith Price).
Lysander and Demetrius are both in love with Hermia, and the Duke gives her one night to decide whether she will obey her father and marry the latter, or risk being thrown into a convent. Oh, what a tangled web we weave.
Hermia and Lysander are then confronted by Helena (Selin Mehrabian), who, only to confuse things further, is in love with Demetrius. They inform her of their plan to run away from Athens.
The lovers run away and fall asleep in the woods, where two different sets of characters come forward.
First, is Oberon, the fairy king (Mitchell Neil), and his Queen, Titania (Tina Woodhull). The second group is commoners who are working to produce a play for the Duke.
Oberon, bitter at Titania over her prized Indian boy, sends his servant, Puck (Ariel Sands), to grab a magical flower, the juice of which will make one fall in love with the first person they see.
Puck is ordered to spread the juice over Titania and Demetrius’ eyes. He gets the first part right, but mistakes Lysander for Demetrius. And so the fun begins.
Lysander falls in love with Helena while Titania’s falls for an actor in the play within the play, who wears the mask of an ass.
Oberon, delighted at Titania’s misfortune, but angered with Lysander’s misplaced affection, orders Puck to find Demetrius and fix the mess.
Demetrius is spread with the flower, causing him to fall in love with Helena leaving both the Athenian men in love with Helena.
Eventually, Oberon takes the Indian boy and uses the flower to have Titania fall in love with him and has Puck use the flower to get Lysander to regain his love for Hermia, and everyone is happy.
Meanwhile, the commoners prepare and perform their poorly performed play of Pyramus and Thisbe for the Duke of Athens, and his soon-to-be-wife, Hippolyta.
That is after he has allowed for the two Athenian couples to stay together, bringing the play to an end.
The production has its ups and downs. Fortunately, the good outweighs the bad.
The casting is fabulous. All of the actors fit their roles and carry them out well.
Walker, Sanchez, Price and Mehrabian are wonderful in their roles, but many of the smaller parts also stand out.
Sands, who plays the servant fairy Puck, is fantastic. She moves gracefully around the stage while also amply projecting her voice.
Ian Felchlin plays Thisbe brilliantly, making the small role an audience favorite.
Woodhull carried out Titania elegantly, adding to the characterization with a lovely singing voice.
The set is beyond what anyone would expect of a community college production, and the lighting, crucial to the story, is masterful. However, the dancing was less than could be expected and was rather bland.
Most of the dancing came from the fairies but, thankfully, all the dancing in the production was minimal and brief.
Despite slight disappointments, the show was performed and staged well; I would highly recommend it.