Monday, July 16, 2012

The Delaware Shakespeare Festival Celebrates its 10th Anniversary with a Splendid Production of A Midsummer Night's Dream!

Now in its 10th year, the Delaware Shakespeare Festival has brought some of William Shakespeare's most beloved plays to hundreds of picnicking audience members. Yes, the play is performed outside and audience members are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs, as well as food and drinks (including wine). The festival premiered in 2003 at Archmere Academy. In 2006, the group moved to the majestic grounds of the Rockwood Mansion, a perfect setting for this year's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Director David Stradley masterfully emphasizes the plays major theme - love and the many aspects of the mysterious feeling/emotion - especially with the brilliant sliver set featuring large X's and O's sculptures by Scenic Designer Christopher Haig. The performers cascade on and off the stage and at times disappear into the wooded area behind it or leap into the audience to make an exit.

The whimsical play is about two young human couples (Jamal Douglas & Sarah Van Auken and Sean Bradley & Jennifer Starr Foley) falling in and out of love, with a little help from the magic of a few fairies, including the fairy king Oberon (Matt Tallman) who is dueling with the fairy queen Titania (Caroline Crocker) for supremacy.

Shakespeare explores how love makes a fool out of everyone. We watch the two couples perform foolish acts of love and disdain toward their betrothed. In addition, the king's assistant Puck (Griffin Stanton-Almeisen) transforms an actor Bottom (Adam Altman) from a bumbling touring troupe into a donkey and casts a spell over the queen, causing her to fall madly in love with him. Proving that sometimes we go from acting like a fool to becoming an ass when we fall in love.
The skillful performers, the beautiful setting, the eloquent text, the flowing choreography by the First State Ballet Theatre’s Alex Bucker, and the romantic score written by David Amado (Music Director of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra) make A Midsummer Night's Dream a splendid production for all to experience. It was wonderful to see parents introducing their young children to the bard's work, as well as older couples who were more familiar with the play sharing a bottle of wine and enjoying a most gorgeous evening. 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs through July 28. For information and tickets, visit or email  

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