A Midsummer Night’s Dream – A Review
Produced by Run Rabbit Run Theatre, A Midsummer Night’s Dream was performed at Grandale Farm / 868 Estate Vineyards on August 3, 2012 (and other dates). Using newly developed outdoor space, the audience was treated to seating under tent, with various stages and settings sprawled out before them. The natural rolling hills that meandered into the horizon served as a perfect backdrop for the setting.
Shakespeare was called for this on dreamy night, one that began with the sun setting behind the stages. Understood to have been written between 1590 and 1596, this layered play involves a royal wedding and a band of actors who are controlled by faeries of the wood. The outdoor setting was well laid out and featured colored lighting on key trees and vegetation, helping to make the environment dreamy. Large tress allows characters to seemingly appear, as if they might in a dream.
This last performance in the series was boosted from the actors and actresses plainly enjoying themselves during the show. The roles were performed with great passion and appropriate amounts of whimsy. Scenery and costumes came together with flowing textures, saturated light colors and simple, but effective props.
Some of the Midsummer Night’s roles were lengthy and complex. Couple this with the level of passion expected by some of these roles, the mostly young actors did a terrific job with the performance on this night. In addition to coping with mouthfuls of Shakespeare’s complex narratives, the outdoor environment posed it’s own challenges to the actors. However, this caused no distraction to the audience. One wonders how those in costume, outdoors, at night, can navigate roots, branches and vegetation all in the name of a providing an entertaining experience.
If this performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is any indication of the potential behind Loudoun’s newest venue for drama, then we the community are lucky indeed. This revelation, along with the success of the Run Rabbit Run Theatre Company, Grandale Farm promises to become the place to go for an exhilarating dinner theater experience. Meredith McMath, the Producer, commented there were some rough edges in the earlier performances, but these related specifically to the new outdoor environment. The night of this performance went smooth as silk.
If I had to make suggestions for improvement, I’d want to replace the pebbles on the ground in the seating area. They make much noise when someone transverses them. Also, at times the tent rigging’s blocked views, depending on where you were seated. The food was tasty and reasonable priced. The sound and lighting were good, and will likely improve over time. At times, the actors came directly under the tent in front of the audience. This offered a heightened level of engagement.
Overall, this was a terrific experience that I recommend to everyone. It gets a ten on the value meter, a nine on the performance and an eight on the new venue. I see all of these going to eleven in the very near future.