Daniel Brochu as Puck [Repercussion Theatre]
A perfect summer night on Mount Royal. There we are, hundreds of couples, families, Repercussion alumni, and a who’s who of Montreal’s English-language theatre world sitting in chairs or on the grass behind the Chalet. The occasion? Repercussion Theatre’s twenty-fifth anniversary celebration performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The direction, by Amanda Kellock, is surefooted, and the cast stellar, led by Quincy Armorer playing both Oberon and Theseus, Julie Tamiko Manning as Titania and Hyppolita, Daniel Brochu as Puck, and the masterly Alain Goulem as Bottom. Every single one of the actors delights in the play and in their roles – and in the lovely Shakespearian sleight of hand that confuses the real and the imagined, the mechanical and the dreamlike, the serious and the riotous throughout this excellent production.
Hair and makeup are a mix of the contemporary and the fantastic, as are the extravagantly showy costumes in the subtlest of earthtones (by Marija Djordjevic). The setting, itself both stark and fanciful (by Amy Keith), is immeasurably enhanced, once the sun sets, by the glimpses we get of fairies and mortals flitting to and from the stage against the backdrop of some of the mountain’s great trees.
For some of us, especially the children as young as four and five, this is a first experience of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They are fortunate above all others, introduced to the play with this production. For the rest of us, too, who may have seen many Dreams over many years, at various stages of our lives, in different settings and countries and on different continents, this Repercussion production is marvellously fresh, its lines a familiar echo of all the other Dreams we have known, now heard anew. What do we have in common, all those of us sitting in front of the stage, marvelling? Perhaps nothing much beyond the English language and a seat on the grass, but we marvel often and we marvel together.
This is what makes a culture, this kind of occasion, this play, this green sward, this shared delight, the company of all these friends and strangers. This is Shakespeare in the Park, thanks to Repercussion Theatre.
You can see this production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, too, at any more than a dozen other parks on other evenings between now and August 4. The schedule of performances is here.
Don’t miss it; it will make your summer.
Copyright © Linda Leith 2013
The French translation of Linda Leith's most recent book, Writing in the Time of Nationalism, will be published in October 2013 (Leméac Éditeur).