Cast of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Courtesy/New Mexico Shakespeare Festival
ALBUQUERQUE — The New Mexico Shakespeare Festival’s romantic comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” runs through July 8 at the New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial Park, 1100 Louisiana Blvd. SE in Albuquerque.
The play is directed by Julia Thudium and stars New Mexico’s top actors from film, tv and stage.
Pre-show entertainment starts before every performance at 6:45 p.m. The full calendar of performances and locations can be found on www.newmexicoshakespearefest.
“Relating to Shakespeare now is so much easier then when I tried in high school with my undiagnosed A.D.D. and dyslexia,” actor Keith Allen West said, “It is amazing to get to craft a character like Robin Starveling and present him as a drag queen.”
In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Theseus, the Duke of Athens (Merritt Glover), is preparing to marry Hippolyta (Amy Bourque). Peter Quince (Marc Comstock) decides to entertain her and hires a group of actors nicknamed the Rude Mechanicals to perform Pyramus and Thisbe, a love story.
Robin Starveling (Keith Allen West) is one of the Rude Mechanicals, the tailor, who gathers with his colleagues to prepare their production. Starveling at first is told to play the part of Thisbe’s mother, but Peter Quince points out that a love story needs moonlight shining on the lovers to have any real effect on the audience.
The players decide that they will just have Starveling act as Moonshine. Starveling’s role as Moonshine in The Mechanical’s performance of Pyramus and Thisbe before Theseus’ court is often highlighted by scholars as among the funnier parts of the play.
Performances take place at the outdoor amphitheater with stunning views of the sunset off the Sandias. No tickets are required for the festival and all seats are free. Besides the concrete benches, you may bring lawn chairs, cushions and stadium seats for the benches, blankets and picnics (no alcohol) and dogs on leashes. Seating is first come first served. There is plenty of room for wheelchairs.
“As a general rule, I prefer not to set my Shakespeare pieces in a specific time period, and again I feel like Midsummer is in its own time. And for me that is the magical moment between waking and sleeping – the slow surfacing from the depths of your dreamscape – the liminal space on the threshold of beginning. In order to have a beginning you need to have a beforetime. It’s here where we find our Midsummer,” Thadium said.
The play stars Alex Armbruster-Gonzalez, Alfredo Quiroz, Amy Bourque, Amy Suman, Ben Jones, Brad Martinez, Bridget Dunne, Diana Segara, Doug Montoya, Joan Erben, Keith Allen West, Kristfn Hansen, Marc Comstock, Matt Heath, Merritt Glover, Owen Danan Martin, Scott Bing, Tait Peterson, Versai Knight, and Vic Browder.
Alternating nights with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is “Comedy of Errors”, directed by Paul Ford. It could be argued that Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors” has no socially redeeming value. A very young William Shakespeare cobbled together his own take on several ancient Roman comedies – zapped it with a modern sensibility – wrote in better jokes – added more plot twists – and included a dash of his growing romantic brilliance – and voilà.
There will be performances at the National Hispanic Cultural Center Plaza: The “Comedy of Errors” June 29 and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” July 6.
For more information about the New Mexico Shakespeare Festival, call 505.349.3526 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.