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Teen Critic Reviews: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

About the Program

Designed for high school students interested in journalism and/or critical writing, the Teen Critic Program at the Shakespeare Theatre Company teaches students how to view theatrical productions with a critical eye and how to write an informed comprehensive theatre review.

Teen Critics write reviews of STC’s mainstage productions. Here are excerpts from their reviews of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

On the set:

“The stage itself is a masterpiece.  Sidney Harman Hall is transformed into an old theater, long unused, with racks of costumes and props lying on the stage.  The fairies inhabit the theatre during the night, slipping through trap doors to have their midnight revels, to steal props and costumes, and to observe the mortals. … This decision allows McSweeny to suggest that the fairy world and the mortal world are mapped atop each other, almost like anagrams, rather than being alternative worlds.” (Abraham Joyner-Meyers, home school)

“The surprising setting is an abandoned theatre that doubles as a metaphysical bridge to the traditional enchanted forest of what may be Shakespeare’s most well-known comedy. The consequence of the intimate setting of a giant world made small sets fairies and mortals alike on a collision course that clears the way for the deep exploration of characters that is so often lacking in productions of Shakespearean comedies.” (Arjun Subramanian, Montgomery Blair High School)

On other design choices:

“Costume designer Jennifer Moeller, wig and makeup designer Leah J. Loukas, and lighting designer Tyler Micoleau add brilliantly to the half-masquerade half-circus vibe, with fairies adorned in what looks like the lost and found bin from the set of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. McSweeny’s purely theatrical approach works tremendously well in the hands of a talented group of designers who effectively transport the audience to a world of fairies and magic.” (Charlotte Racioppo, Wootton High School)

“In an effort to emphasize the sameness of the mortal and immortal worlds, the clothing of the teen lovers begins to look more like the clothing of the fairies as they spend the night in the “woods.”  During a slapstick brawl between the four humans, they remove their mortal clothes and find themselves in their underwear, becoming fairies in their own right, at least to a degree.  At this point, these humans can suddenly use the fairies’ trap doors to get around the forest.” (Abraham Joyner-Meyers, home school)

“Sound designer Fitz Patton was also successful at creating an other-worldly atmosphere, which was most especially notable for Titania and Oberon when they cast spells. It was also important because there was a lot of singing and music in this show which aided each scene differently, helping to create different moods for all of the different sets of characters.” (Catherine Schreiber, Bishop Ireton School)

On the cast and characters:

“The acting, particularly that of Shakespeare Theatre Company Affiliated Actor Adam Green as the sprite Puck, is spectacular. With excellent comic timing and hilarious interpretations of such a well-known show, Green offsets Tim Campbell’s taciturn Oberon quite nicely and is exactly the scene-stealer Puck is meant to be. Along with Green, Bruce Dow as the self-delusional Nick Bottom also shows comic prowess, being delightfully full of himself and melodramatic at all the right times.” (Charlotte Racioppo, Wootton High School)

“The fairy-dominated scenes are utterly beautiful as they alternate between bursting with the raw emotional power that surrounds Oberon, the intricate calmness that surrounds Titantia, and the dark boldness of Puck. By the end, it is no clearer what is meant to be real and what is meant to be supernatural, only that the latter is a realm at which to marvel.” (Arjun Subramanian, Montgomery Blair High School)

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