“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” performed at the new Masterworks Theatre Company on W. 47th Street, opened this week.
Directed by Tamilla Woodard, is a modern take on this classic Shakespeare love story. Following three pairs of ‘lovers,’ Midsummer explores the complications of love at first sight and trust within relationships. The young couples, played by Becca Ballenger (Helena), Emilio Tirado (Demetrius), Sheria Irving (Hermia) and Reynaldo Piniella (Lysander), are thrown into a game of jealousy and magic, when Nick Cearley (Puck) accidentally puts Lysander under a spell that was meant for Demetrius. Jenny Strassburg (Titania) is also forced into this game of infatuation, when she is put under Puck’s spell and falls in love with Warren Jackson (Bottom), who Puck has turned into an Ass.
Overall, the show was entertaining and clear for the audience. Children made up most of the audience on the night of June 10, as well as small groups of elderly theatre goers. The founder of The Masterworks Theatre Company, Eric Krebs, made it his mission to create a theatre company that would bring the classics to younger audiences. This vision was accomplished and enjoyed greatly by the younger audience in attendance. In every scene, there would be laughter, a little chatter and complete infatuation with the cast on stage. Puck, played by Cearley, stole the show from the very beginning, adding his innate sense of comedic timing to each scene, while keeping Puck sassy and quick on his feet.
However, as a Shakespeare fan, I found myself a bit disappointed with the amount of jokes made about the text. Many times, the characters would make it clear that the words they were saying either made no sense rhythmically or simply sounded strange. Sure, Shakespeare’s text is out of the ordinary, and yes you are trying to get children to enjoy the piece of theatre you have created. But I was taken aback at how blatant the directors choice of ridicule was. Many in the audience seemed to take no offense, and simply enjoyed the show in front of them, which overshadowed my overall note.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be running from June 5-28.