RoleCall Theater is a non-profit independent theater company that provides a safe space for creatives to display their talents. From short plays and films to workshops and improv shows, RoleCall Theater introduces a new wave of talent bringing a fresh perspective to the theater community.
The quaint space is located in Downtown Atlanta’s Ponce City Market, an eclectic historical building that was remodeled in 2014 and houses various cuisine-focused restaurants, trendy retail stores, comfortable outdoor spaces and a rooftop with a view that is to die for.
Right between a parking garage and Pancake Social, a trendy brunch spot, is RoleCall Theater. It’s tucked in to a small corner, and if you’re not paying attention it’s easy to miss. Their outdoor theater space, when not in use, is a typical 3-tiered seating area for patrons.
But what it lacks in space it makes up for in culture.
This summer, RoleCall Theater is the home of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
You can catch the Shakespearean tragedy live from Thursday to Saturday until August 20th.
Only evening shows are available, which is perfect if you’re trying to avoid Atlanta’s almost unbearable summer temperatures. But even the sweltering heat isn’t enough to ruin this quirky yet entertaining depiction of one of the playwright’s most popular works.
Given the feel of this play and the many times it’s been done by other theatre companies, it’s expected of the cast to convey a comedic and zany approach but in an exciting, energy-packed plot of confused romance as well as pleasurable, weird schemes.
Directed by RoleCall’s in-house director and producer Lyssa Hoganson and Evan Fields, the famous play was brought to life with a talented 7 person cast and just a few props.
The last time I read A Midsummer Night’s Dream was in High School, and I hadn’t thought about it since. The old Elizabethan English left me confused and 17-year-old me didn’t quite have the appropriate attention span to absorb all five acts. But it all started to come back to me once I took my seat inside the RoleCall Theater.
This time, despite the frequent switches between the fairy world and the human world, following along was pretty easy – which is a testament to the memorable performances of each cast member.
Most people already know the story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s a play within a play, and it follows four lovers, an upcoming marriage and a group of amateur actors. A few fairies are sprinkled in there, too.
The cast features The Knockturnal’s very own Nicolette Acosta as Helena/Flute/Cobweb, Madeline Brashier as Puck/Philostrate/Egeus, Sully Brown as Lysander/Nick Bottom, Evan Fields as Oberon/Theseus/Snout, Molly McInturff as Hermia/Starveling/Peaseblossom, Kaley Pharr as Titania/Hippolyta/Snug and Trevor Poli as Demetrius/Quince
Every group eventually ends up in the same place at the same time. Mischief takes place at every turn and themes of love and heartbreak come up often, thanks to the inevitable side effects of overdosing on love potions. There are romantic and physical chases due to mistaken identities and an obnoxiously dramatic wedding all delivered in to a wonderfully bold performance.
You may not remember how this adventure plays out. I know I didn’t, initially. But it doesn’t matter because the performance, while enigmatic, was as magical as a fairy-enchanted forest.
Above all, the whole production organically flows together with Nicolette giving a magnetic portrayal of scorned lover Helena, and Molly conveying the opposite side of the spectrum of adolescent love in her character Hermia. Sully and Trevor do a great job of commanding the room during their heated love-ridden arguments as Lysander and Demetrius. Evan and Kaley accomplished the difficult task of presenting the beautiful yet dangerous realities of marriage between Oberon and Titania.
And no one could have played the role of Puck better than Madeline, with her adorable charisma and playful demeanor.
With a sense of baffling foolishness and wonder, the play concluded.
I caught a Thursday night show, so it wasn’t too packed. The box-sized room with long, black curtains adorning each side was tight. I remembered thinking “Surely, this cast of seven can’t give us, the audience, a compelling performance in such a tiny space?” There was a sturdy, black step ladder situated on top of a few vintage rugs in the middle of the room. The set up was almost too simple. I wasn’t sure what I had walked in to, but I left feeling happy that I did.
You can purchase tickets to RoleCall Theater’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream here.