Highland’s Latest Play Provides Much Needed Laughter

Sophie Bauer

A dark, crowded theater, the sound of the 60’s coming in over the speakers, and a play within a play: This barely scratches the surface of Highland Theater’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which closed on Monday night to a full house.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream was written near the end of the 16th century, and it’s a famous Shakespeare play. More than that, though, it’s a famous Shakespeare comedy, ideal for shaking off the dismal chill of winter.

A large part of this certainly falls on the characters. Behind the tough language that characterizes Shakespeare lie a cast of hilarious characters, from Nick Bottom, a man who would become a donkey, to Demetrius and Lysander, whose rivalry under the spell of a love flower’s potion draws laughter unfailingly.

The plot, too, is chock full of hilarious misunderstandings, as two characters are accidentally spelled into loving the same woman, a fairy queen falls for a donkey, and a cast of ill-suited actors struggle to perform an ill-fated play throughout the chaos.

Setting, however, plays as much a part in the success of a production as anything else. And with a 60’s era update, Highland’s version of the play played out with a fresh and instantly enjoyable new angle. Songs like “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “Lollipop” were fun throwbacks, and an original mural created by Highland students added a trippy visual backdrop for the antics that took place in the woods.

In addition to updating the setting, Highland’s version of the play was easy to understand and fit within a more manageable time slot than the original, with a runtime of just around two hours. Combined with top-notch acting and smooth sound and lighting, it’s easy to see why this play sold out on closing night.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a play well suited for the season. It’s uplifting, energetic, and funny – gives off, even, the feeling of warmth against a series of snowstorms. Truly, A Midsummer Night’s Dream was the perfect play for a cold midwinter’s.