Grab your folding chair, pack a picnic basket, and get thee to the Great Lawn at Brookdale Community College, where the Shakespeare on the Lawn presentation of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM gets well-met by moonlight beginning this Thursday.
If ever was such a thing as “entry level Shakespeare,” then A Midsummer Night’s Dream is that single most easily inaccessible work with a little something for everyone: a hyper-kinetic love story; some slyly supernatural shenanigans courtesy of mischievous magical beings; a charming little play-within-a-play, and some of the author’s wildest opportunities for honest-to-goodness belly laughs, courtesy of the outsize ambitions and actorly egos of the play’s “rude mechanicals.”
It’s also the Shakespeare work that’s most at home in the open air — a thing best done the way the Bard intended, with un-amplified voices, improvised solos by Mother Nature’s minions, and an audience of engaged, enthusiastic (and ever so spirited) folks from all walks of life. And, beginning this Thursday evening, July 13, A Midsummer Night’s Dream becomes the perfect vehicle for the Shakespeare on the Lawn series to get back to its roots, with a new outdoor production on the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College.
Going up at 7 p.m. on the Great Lawn adjacent to the school’s Performing Arts Center building, the play marks the 16th annual edition of the series that introduced itself with Dream and other lighter comedies from the Bard’s folio; eventually exploring the darker, heavier side of the Shakespearean with such fare as 2015’s blood-drenched Titus Andronicus. Here in 2017 — a year in which many can profess to be in need of a laugh — director John Bukovec and his company of student and community players whisk their audience away to Shakespeare’s enchanted wood for a total of eight performances distributed over two weeks.
As the continued popularity of the BCC series attests, when the stars align there are few settings more fitting in which to enjoy the Bard’s classic tragedies, comedies and histories in their natural habitat — an experience that has little to do with stuffy theater boxes, scratchy formalwear, and snoozing patrons of the arts.
Admission to A Midsummer Night’s Dream is free of charge, and no reservations are necessary, though attendees are encouraged to arrive early for best seating — as well as to bring their own lawn chairs, blankets and picnic-style refreshments (recommended parking options are in Lots 1 and 2). Snacks will also be available for purchase from the Brookdale Theater Club on site.
Performances are scheduled for Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (July 13-16 and July 20-23) at 7 p.m.; cancellations will be made in case of tempests or “cataracts and hurricanoes,” and weather-related inquiries can be directed to the PAC box office at (732) 224-2411.