Written by Erica Siddle
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is by far my favorite Shakespearean comedy. While I have seen the production in its various forms in several theater classes, I had never seen a live performance. Needless to say, I was intrigued from the start when the Greenville Factory Theater chose this as their fall production.
Upon entering the theater, I was greeted with green, green, and of course, more green. While the abundance of color may have overwhelmed me at first, once the actors took their places on the stage, the color choice made perfect sense. With a deep green floor and elegant white curtains as the back drop, the set was elegant enough to draw me in without overpowering the performance and distracting from the actors. The backdrop also accented the fairies costumes, making them stand out against the emerald floor.
I enjoyed the performance as a whole, but the pace of the show varied far more than I had expected. The first act seemed to unfold rather slowly, and was even choppy during several scenes. Several characters spoke their lines far too fast, making it difficult to distinguish their lines. During the second act, the cast seemed to meld together effortlessly. Lines were spoken clearly, and the action began to flow beautifully from scene to scene.
Although the cast eventually came together, some characters seemed out of their element during the course of the play. Egeus seemed complacent rather than outraged as he told Theseus of his daughter’s misplaced love for the ‘bewitching’ Lysander.
Several key players who stole some well-deserved attention were Jeff Langley, portraying Lysander, and Zach Bonner as Demetrius. Their brawl in the wilderness had me convinced not only that the two were madly in love with Helena, but I was legitimately concerned Langley was about to loose a few precious locks. Erin Pennington charmed the audience with a flirty, and sometimes viscous, portrayal of Hermia. Her execution of jealous rage upon realizing she lost Lysander was done seamlessly. The scene of Pyramus and Thisbe’s tragic tale at the conclusion of the play stole the show and had the audience rolling. We even got a sneak peak at Tyler Lamb’s chest during his all-too-dramatic suicide.
The lighting and theatrical effects within the play also enhanced the action without taking away from the performances. I tip my hat to those who operated the sound board as well. It was apparent that many of the actors and sound technicians had worked closely with one another during rehearsal to align their actions with the respective sound bites.
Overall, I was impressed with director Jared Cole’s rendition of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. While there were several minor hangups during the action, the play in its entirety was an all around success. For Cole’s first production with Greenville, I give him a solid B+ and I look forward to seeing future plays under his direction at The Factory Theater.