The PlayMakers Repertory Company will be putting on a series of free performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream throughout the Research Triangle Park beginning Wednesday. This 10-stop tour is part of the theater’s “Mobile Shakespeare+” program, an initiative designed to present “bare bones productions” of Shakespeare's plays to new audiences throughout the area.
The program aims to make theater accessible to those who would not usually have the opportunity to see it. It was originally inspired by touring companies such as the Minneapolis-based Ten Thousand Things, which brought “classic plays to correctional facilities and community organizations.” The touring schedule goes from Feb. 14 to March 4, and includes stops at venues such as the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Teen Center and the Southwest Durham Regional Library.
In order to bring A Midsummer Night’s Dream to a variety of spaces, the play has been stripped down to the essentials. The comedy will be performed in the round, with each of the production’s six cast members playing multiple parts. Finding the essential parts of the play was a “process of distillation,” said cast member Dan Toot, who plays the parts of Theseus, Oberon and Bottom.
“We really focused on making the characters memorable,” Toot said.
Tristan Parks, who plays Lysander, Puck and Snout, said that sizing the play down to 90 minutes while maintaining its integrity took a lot of work.