Last week, some media outlets were swooning over the recent production a “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” performed outdoors in New York City’s Central Park.
But if all the world’s a stage, then the parks of Jersey City and Hoboken are just as fine a backdrop as any other.
This month the Hudson Shakespeare Company kicks off its summer season of three of the famous bard’s best with their own outdoor production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Productions of “Henry V” and the little-known “Tymon of Athens” will follow in July and August.
This being the Hudson Shakespeare Company, not everything in the production draws from Greek or Celtic heritage.
‘Back to basics’
Founded in 1992, the Hudson Shakespeare Company uses classical and eclectic theater esthetics to reinterpret Shakespeare’s plays for contemporary audiences and is known for its work with emerging directors.
The company’s 2011 season, its 20th, stays true to its mission, according to artistic director Jon Ciccarelli.
“With our first offering [this season], we’re trying to break away from the usual, mundane ‘Midsummer Night’s’ productions,” said Ciccarelli. “Since the play is done a lot, we’ve seen a lot of productions that have been done in a rather pedestrian way, where it’s either modern dress, or the production is very slapdash. ‘Midsummer’ tends to get that treatment a lot. So, we decided to go back to basics and set the show in ancient Greece.”
Noting that the play is blend of Greek myth and Celtic folklore, Ciccarelli said audiences may find the production refreshing for its reliance on the two styles, especially in the show’s costuming.
But, this being the Hudson Shakespeare Company, not everything in the production draws from Greek or Celtic heritage. The show, Ciccarelli said, includes four dance sequences that will be performed to African and Indian music, among other styles of music.
“Our audience is as broad and diverse as Hudson County itself,” said Ciccarelli. “Yes, I could see some playgoers being jarred or put off by some of the elements of this production, but not in Hoboken or Jersey City. These are audience members who are already seeing shows and interesting sophisticated theater productions in New York. Part of our mission is to keep up with that standard because that’s what our regular audience members want. It’s what they’re accustomed to.”
The play contains three interlocking plots in which pairs of lovers are manipulated by the fairies, who cast spells on them.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be performed on Monday, June 27 in Hoboken’s Sinatra Park at 7 p.m. The following week, on Friday, July 1, it will be performed in Van Vorst Park in Jersey City, also at 7 p.m.
Performances of “Henry V” begin July 25, followed by “Tymon of Athens” on August 12.
For more information on the Hudson Shakespeare Company and the 2011 summer season, visit www.hudsonshakespeare.org.
It is suggested that audience members bring lawn chairs and blankets.
E-mail E. Assata Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.