Strange Capers' summertime "Dream" does it right: one more weekend left

Categories: Theater
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by Tara Sloane
"Take that messenger bag and go drug some mortals": Elizabeth Grullon and Skyler Nowinski in "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
My review of A Midsummer Night's Dream by Strange Capers is appearing in the CP Spotlight this Wednesday, but if you're the sort who starts thinking about the coming weekend early (the optimistic sort, in other words), you should consider spending a couple of hours at Powderhorn Park on Saturday or Sunday to take in this well-crafted, funny, and diverting show.

Randy Reyes directs a cast of nine (mostly quite young) performers tackling 20 roles, with men playing women in some cases and vice versa, and with a few simple costuming tricks they pull it off nicely. This is a strong ensemble tackling a great play with purpose, with an emphasis on the concept of play strong throughout.

Bring a chair or a blanket if you go, and bring something to eat or drink (if you don't, like me, you will experience intermittent burning pangs of envy). A number of people even brought their dogs; this Shakespeare-in-the-park thing has a way of breaking down any fragmentary remnants of theater stuffiness.

And if you don't know the play, you owe this one to yourself. It's funny, sexy, subversive, and full of all sorts of romantic complications, crossed connections, and steamy innuendo. The plot revolves around a girl whose father demand she marry someone she doesn't love. She runs off to the forest with the guy she really digs, with her supposed fiancee in tow (along with the woman who loves him). Pretty soon fairies and forest spirits get involved to mess with everyone's heads. Oh, and there's a play within the play, with a bunch of numbskulls trying to bring a romantic drama to the stage.

That's pretty much all you need to know. It's one of my favorite plays, because of its deft touch with romantic longing, and the subversive fashion with which it deals with societal conventions. It's a transporting experience when done right, and the Strange Capers have indeed done just that.

A Midsummer Night's Dream plays this Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at Powderhorn Park. The show is free; donations are accepted.

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