Hyde Park Community Players to perform ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in Nichols Park

Ryan Kacani as Oberon and Amelia Snoblin as Titania rehearse the Hyde Park Community Players’ “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” (Contributed photo)

Staff writer

Shakespeare is coming to Nichols Park this month as the Hyde Park Community Players will present “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the Bard’s comedy of lovers and fairies beginning on Friday, July 19.

“Shakespeare presents us with a completely knotted human situation at the beginning,” said director and Community Players founder Paul Baker. Father Egeus insists that his daughter Hermia marry his chosen suitor, Demetrius, or she will be executed.

When the characters go to the fairy world, “something happens, and the whole thing just dissolves,” Baker said. “What I’m going to posit is that the fairies are beings who, although they live passionately, always release.”

Assistant director Laura McGregor directed “The Tempest” in the park a few years ago. In “Midsummer,” Shakespeare’s fools are “actors, perhaps even community theater actors,” she said, grinning. “I think it’s very self-deprecating on Shakespeare’s part. I think he’s poking fun at himself and his fellow theater-lovers. They are just absolutely delightful in their seriousness about doing a really good play.”

The Community Players’ “Midsummer” has a 24-member cast, with rehearsals that commenced at the beginning of June and taking place in the park.

The two sets — the Athenian court to the fairy world — are 180 degrees from each other. The audience will turn to face the action. “It’s very fun, this idea of a ‘promenade play,’ to actually switch where you are — to move the audience instead of the set,” McGregor said.

“Midsummer” will be the decade-old Community Players’ fourth Shakespeare in the Park production. It will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m. on the last two weekends in July with free admission, though donations are accepted. More information is available at www.hydeparkcommunityplayers.org.