At the Seabreeze Amphitheater in Carlin Park, Jupiter’s Shakespeare By the Sea Festival is presenting a production of A Midsummer’s Dream that is gorgeously located near a lake. The al fresco experience was cool and rain-free last weekend, and served as another reminder that we are (nearly) out of a pandemic.
Set in ancient Athens, the enduring dramedy tells the story of four lovers whose romances are put in jeopardy after a fairy adds magic to the mix. The central characters are Lysander (John Campagnuolo), Demetrius (Matthew Paszkiet), Hermia (Madison Fernandez) and Helena (Abigal Garcia). Lysander and Hermia are in love, but struggle to maintain their relationship because Hermia’s noble father wants her to be with Demetrius, who he views as a better fit for his daughter. Meanwhile, Helena lusts for Demetrius.
The play is delightful, centering on the power of love and how it transfigures people while also poking fun at the surplus of silliness that sometimes comes with having cupid’s arrow jammed in your back. Shakespeare also explores the duality of dreams and reality—opposing forces that somehow seem to always intertwine.
Although this performance lacks lavish props or special effects, the convincing performances make up for it—so much so that you barely notice the minimalist set. While the actors do fulfill the Shakespearean vision, they also add their own flair to their respective roles. Shakespeare’s exquisite iambic pentameter can be a challenge to wrap around the tongue—but not for these thespians.
The production also handles its lack of resources smartly, an example being a large umbrella that crowns the stage and sports shimmers, flowers or a moon depending on the scene. Great costuming is also on display, particularly with the beautiful dressings of the fairies.
While this production may not transcend the rarefied world of Shakespeare’s 16th century style and dialect, his many fans will find the experience more than worthwhile. Be sure to bring a folding chair or blanket (seating is not provided) and make a donation in the wishing well.
Palm Beach Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” continues at 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday at the Seabreeze Amphitheater at Carlin Park, 750 South Florida A1A, Jupiter. Admission is free with a suggested $5 donation. For more information, visit pbshakespeare.org.