Let's be honest, it's tough for any theater company nowadays to perform Midsummer to an audience that knows it well and has preconceived notions, perhaps more than any other Shakespearean comedy. I, for one, was pleasantly surprised with the end result of the The Shakespeare Forum's efforts. Tyler Moss's crisp, fluid, truthful direction, coupled with the ensemble efforts of this clearly talented group of classically trained actors really made the play resonate for me. During the show, I found new moments in the actors' performances of these well known characters, both hilarious and poignant, that I've not noticed before. An example of this was Claire Warden's powerful yet sympathetic Titania expressing to Oberon that the seasons were out of joint due to their ongoing conflict. In a year where I've seen first-hand the real damage potential of Mother Nature, this especially hit home for me as a New Yorker. But where the ensemble really shines is its ability to showcase the comedy of the piece without overdoing it. Truth is an essential part of comedy, even when it is the "truth" of what different effects a love potion can bring out, or if a donkey's head appears on a overconfident thespian. The Truth is funny because it reminds us of the absurdity of life.
By intermission, I had not even noticed that time had sped by, leaving me with a wide grin implanted on my face. It's a fresh, exciting, insightful, kinetic show, and you should not miss it, nor should you miss the overall efforts of the Shakespeare Forum itself, a group dedicated to the betterment of New York actors. Check them out here, where oddly enough, you can also get tickets to the show. But you ought to be quick -- Midsummer ends its run Dec 16th!