Titan Theatre Productions’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream where the audience chooses who plays which role seconds before the play starts at Queens Theatre in the Park.
As you approach the old world’s fair in Queens, you can’t help but feel a little bit of excitement, a little bit of history and perhaps a little bit of foreboding. This is a place that has been left to deteriorate and the two opposing saucer structures are a testament to that. Yet as you walk up to the Queens Theatre itself, you see the beauty and charm of the structure where Titan Theatre Company has chosen to ply its trade. Their latest production, A Misummer Night’s Dream is a dark comedy set in Shakespeare’s foreboding forest which is full of faeries and magic, Athenians, and Mechanicals (an acting troupe) juxtaposed with a warm and charming Athens. The World’s Fair and the Queens Theater is a perfect match for the Bard’s setting and that connection makes you feel as if you are fully immersed within the playwright’s world.
While Dream’s story is ubiquitous, Titan made it their own by having a unique and interesting trick up their sleeve, making this old story fresh and relying on audience participation. None of the resident artists knew which roles they would play until seconds before the production officially began. Guests were greeted by Robin Goodfellow Puck, played by a show stealing Nathan C. Crocker, dressed in a tuxedo and sporting horns, produced a hat and selected audience members to pluck character names out and then randomly assign the role to each of the actors (now also on stage). This interactive nature of the production and greatly added to the fun, boosting the excitement and participation of the show. Due to the random nature of the selections, this also helped display the dynamic and versatile nature of the actors on stage.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream portrays the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, Duke of Athens, and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazon, as well as the often comical adventures of four young Athenian lovers, Hermia, Lysander, Demetrius and Helena. The last group consists of six amateur actors who struggle to put on a play. All of the main characters are influenced and manipulated by the fairies that inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set.
While the story itself has been told and retold numerous times, one cannot help but love the ingenious way Titan Theater spiced things up and made this play their own. From the random nature of the characters, to the laid back but effective set pieces, as well as the funny and personal way in which lines were delivered, you naturally feel immersed in the world that they created around you. Titan Theater has a winner on its hands and it is a shame that the play had such a short run. If given the chance I would see it again and again.
The Titan Theatre group has an upcoming run of A Christmas Carol running from December 12th-21st 2014. For more information or to book your tickets please visit http://titantheatrecompany.com/
For more information on Queens Theatre in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, please visit: www.queenstheatre.org