Coming to a Park Near You: A Groovy Twist on a Favorite Shakespeare Tale
Photo courtesy of Ben Blankley.
It’s Goodbye Togas, Hello Tie-Dye in Wichita Shakespeare Company’s 60s Themed “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Mischievous fairies. Dueling lovers. A guy getting turned into a donkey. Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” has it all, and endures as one of The Bard’s most popular comedies.
Wichita Shakespeare Company’s upcoming production, which plays in Wichita area parks throughout the month of June, adds a groovy new twist by updating the setting from Ancient Greece to the Hippie era of the 1960s.
“A lot of the themes and events in ‘Midsummer’ fit very nicely into what we think of going on in the 60s,” says director Zoe Burke. “We have the idea of personal freedom and women’s rights. ⋯ The idea of hippie communes easily lent itself to the fairies who dwell in the forest sort of on the fringes of society.”
As a theatre educator (formerly elementary, now high school), Burke also sees the 60s theme as a way to make Shakespeare more accessible to a wider audience. “It was very important to me that this production would be accessible and fun for people who aren’t necessarily Shakespearean scholars,” she notes. “Select characters have even been encouraged to integrate 60s period ad-libs into the Shakespearean text to sort of bridge the gap between modern language and Elizabethan.”
“This show,” she continues, “is one of Shakespeare’s most fun, and understandable, comedies. The characters are often very over the top and silly, and I think audiences of all ages will respond well to that.”
Shakespeare in the Park’s relaxed outdoor setting and welcoming vibe also add to the fun. All shows are free to the public, though donations are accepted and appreciated.
So pack up a picnic dinner, grab your lawn chair or blanket, (and bug spray!), and prepare to fall under the spell of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Performance Dates and Locations
Who can resist a dog in costume? Check out Puck, ready for the show! Photo courtesy of John Stafford III.
All shows begin at 7 p.m., with an approximate running time of one hour and forty-five minutes. Rated PG.
June 10 …College Hill Park, Wichita
June 11 …Harvest Park, Wichita
June 12 …Andover Sports Park
June 17 …Central Riverside Park, Wichita
June 18 …Hap McLean Park, Park City
June 19 … Wichita Scottish Rite Center (special indoor performance)
June 24 …College Hill Park, Wichita
June 25 …Hand Park, Derby
June 26 ….Central Riverside Park, Wichita
In the event of inclement weather, there will be a message posted at 6:00 p.m. on the WSC line (316-655-2017) alerting if the show has been cancelled for that evening.
For more information about the show or Shakespeare in the Park, check out WSC’s website: www.wichitashakespearecompany.org