Shakespeare at the Arb: A Midsummer Night's Dream

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Jun 22, 2010 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Last Saturday, we experienced MAGIC. How? By heading to the sylvan meadows and dark forests of the University of Michigan's Nichols Arboretum for Shakespeare in the Arb. This year, their 10th season, featured my VERY favorite play, A Midsummer Night's Dream. Directed by Kate Mendeloff, the play is a moving (literally) and joyous performance. Starting in the Peony Gardens, the play moves through forest glades and meadows before ending up again at the Peony Garden for its conclusion.

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream 

 

 

A presentation of the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science and Arts Residential College, it will run only ONE more weekend, June 24-27. It is held at the Nichols Arboretum, a 120+ acre paradise.

This production is an incredible performance, definitely one-of-a-kind. I've seen A Midsummer Night's Dream in Regent's Park, London; and Kenwood Park, Minneapolis, but neither was as creative with the natural space as this production.

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream 

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream 

 


A lovely evening with a light breeze to counter the heat was perfect for an outdoor play! Many people brought picnic items, and the audience ranged from kids to a beautiful octogenarian that sat next to me (a former English teacher!). The audience was limited to 150 people, to facilitate the easy movement from "stage" to "stage" - and it was perfectly set up for each section of the play. People brought chairs or blankets to sit on. Nature provided the setting, while the actors shone. Even without modern technology (mikes, lights), the actors were strong at projecting, both verbally and non-verbally! Actors were pulled from students, community members, and faculty. The costumes were incredible, and our 7-year old daughter sketched her own costumes all the way home.

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream 

 

 

The actor who played Bottom was particularly good - he made us laugh so hard!

A Midsummer Night's Dream

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream

 

A Midsummer Night's Dream

 

 


Handicap accommodations are well thought-out - I was driven, with several others who needed it, in a golf cart along the paths and fields. Our driver, Hannah Curtis, was so very kind. She's the daughter of Director Kate Mendelhoff, and is home from New York City for a month to assist with this play. Then she heads off to India for a few months to volunteer - yes, our kind of trip! She was full of great information about the history of Shakespeare in the Arb, the actors (double casting, to accommodate the great number of excellent actors!), and more. Thank you, Hannah!


We loved Shakespeare in the Arb and can't wait to go next year!

 

 

 


Note: To ensure you get a ticket, please show up early. Check out the info on the website!


For more information, please see:
http://www.rc.lsa.umich.edu/shakespeare/plays.html

or
http://www.lsa.umich.edu/mbg/
and click on June 24, 25, 26, or 27.

 


Disclaimer: We were provided with media tickets to see Midsummer Night's Dream. Thank you!

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Jessie Voigts

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