The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., is sending its 2012 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Ethan McSweeny—which was revived last summer for the company's annual Free For All—to Macao, China, to perform at the 27th annual celebration of the Macao Arts Festival (MAF) this spring.
In commemoration of the 400th anniversaries of William Shakespeare’s and famed Chinese playwright Tan Xianzu’s deaths, the MAF will present shows in tribute to these two virtuosos. McSweeny’s production of Midsummer Night's Dream will kick off the festival with performances on April 30 and May 1 at 8 p.m.
“Ethan McSweeny’s Midsummer delighted D.C. audiences in our 2012–2013 season and again at our annual Free For All; we are eager to share this production—a love letter to Shakespeare, to the art form, and to the physical environment of theatre itself—with an international audience,” STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn said in a company press release. “We’ve had STC shows go abroad in the past—with Love’s Labour’s Lost in 2006 at the RSC’s Complete Works Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon and The Oedipus Plays, which traveled to the prestigious 2003 Athens Festival in Greece—and we’re proud of the opportunity to continue this tradition of international exchange.”
McSweeny’s “ghost light” production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is set in the ruins of an abandoned theater. “Midsummer remains a real touchstone in my work as a director and my long-time collaboration with STC, so I was thrilled when the Macao Arts Festival asked if I would bring this production to the other side of the world," McSweeny said in the release. “I look forward to welcoming new audiences to the wonder of this play, the magic of this production, and the work of the remarkable company of artists that make up the Shakespeare Theatre.”
STC Affiliated Artist Adam Green will reprise his role as Philostrate/Puck, a role for which he received a Helen Hayes Award nomination in 2012 and which he repeated at last summer's Free For All. Sara Topham also returns for her third go as Hippolyta/Titania. Dion Johnstone (Theseus/Oberon) and Tom Alan Robbins (Nick Bottom) return to the show after their Free For All performances in those roles. Other returning cast members include Nancy Anderson (First Fairy), Laura Artesi (Ensemble), Freddie Bennett (Ensemble), Ross Destiche (Ensemble), Chasten Harmon (Hermia), Ralph Adriel Johnson (Demetrius), Hugh Nees (Snug the Joiner), Julia Ogilvie (Helena), Taylor Robinson (Ensemble), Herschel Sparber (Snout the Tinker), Stephen Stocking (Lysander), Jessica Thorne (Ensemble), and Harry Winter (Peter Quince). New to the cast of McSweeny’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream are actors Alex Podulke (Francis Flute), John Lescault (Egeus), and Andrew Weems (Starveling).
Organized by the Cultural Affairs Bureau, the Macao Arts Festival celebrates its 27th year this spring from April 30 to May 29. This year’s theme for the festival is “Time,” with the slogan “Reshape your Imagination. Experience the Spirit of the Times.” The festival hopes to convey the message that the performing arts have undergone thousands of years of condensation, development, and transformation. For its 27th celebration, the Macao Arts Festival presents 27 shows and artistic exhibitions as well as an outreach program that totals more than 100 activities.
March 17, 2016