Hartford Stage has been doing Shakespeare plays since the theater was founded over half a century ago. In recent years, it has reliably done a Shakespeare script every season since 2010 — just before Darko Tresnjak became artistic director.
This is only the second-and-a-half time in those seven seasons, however, that the Shakespeare play was the season-opener. (The “half” is for 2013, when “Macbeth” was done in repertory with Marivaux’s “La Dispute.”) There are nine other instances in Hartford Stage’s 53-year history when Shakespeare led off the season, including the theater’s very first show in 1963, a production of “Othello.”
This year the Elizabethan treat is “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Hartford Stage has presented the fantastical romantic comedy twice before. In 1988 it was directed by Mark Lamos, and in 2008 by Lisa Peterson. Tresnjak’s vision features a set by Alexander Dodge (“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” “Anastasia”), costumes by Tresnjak’s husband Joshua Pearson (“La Dispute,” “Private Lives”) and an original score by Alexander Sovronsky (“The Comedy of Errors”).
The cast includes Scarlett Strallen as Hippolyta/Titania, Esau Pritchett as Theseus/Oberon, Damian Jermaine Thompson as Demetrius, Tom Peckinka as Lysander, Jenny Leona as Hermia, Fedna Laure Jacquet as Helena, Will Apicella as Puck and — as the Rude Mechanicals who stage a rousing “Pyramus and Thisbe” at the play’s end — John Lavelle, Robert Hannon Davis, Louis Tucci, Matthew Macca and Brent Bateman.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” plays Sept. 7 through Oct. 8 at Hartford Stage, 50 Church St., Hartford. Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., with a 2 p.m. Wednesday matinee on Sept. 20, 2 p.m. Saturday matinees on Sept. 16 and 30 and Oct. 7, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday evening shows on Sept. 10 and 24. Tickets are $25 to $90. 860-527-5151 and hartfordstage.org.
Making Fake News…