In the last scene of A Midsummer Nights Dream, Shakespeare declared the play to have a weak and idle theme, but this raucous comedy nonetheless draws in audiences like the one that gathered on July 27 on the lawn of the Blount County Public Library. Though the play was held after a light rain, a large crowd spread out in the damp grass to enjoy the performance, and children and adults alike giggled at Shakespeare’s gags.
The play was performed by the Tennessee Stage Company, who returned to the Blount County for their eighth performance as a part of the library’s Hot Summer Nights concert and performance series.
A Midsummer Nights Dream is a comedy of thwarted lovers, jealous fairies and an earnest-if-bumbling group of tradesmen/actors. In this summer’s incarnation, the fairy king and queen, Oberon and Titania, were played by the same actors (Morgan Spencer and Suzanne Ankrum) who portray the Duke, Theseus, and his fiancé, Hippolyta. While Oberon and Titania feud and Theseus and Hippolyta wait to marry, the group of actors and four unsuspecting lords and ladies are drawn into the forest and enchanted by mischievous Puck, Oberon’s attendant.
Kenneth Mayfield plays the passionate Lysander, in love with Hermia (Kathryn Hale) against her fathers wishes. Hermia is instead promised to Demetrius (James McGuire), who is pursued by Helena, a young lady he wooed and then spurned. Puck is played by Greg Congleton, who also took on the role of Hermia’s father, Egeus. Other standout performances include Sarah Campbell as Peter Quince and the ever-amusing Tom Parkhill as Nick Bottom.
The Tennessee Stage company will perform A Midsummer Nights Dream at 7 p.m. on Aug. 7, 9, 13 and 15 in Knoxville’s Market Square as a part of Shakespeare on the Square. They will also be performing Hamlet on Aug. 6, 8, 14 and 16 at 7 p.m. in the same location. For more information, visit www.tennesseestage.com.
Hot Summer Nights free performances continue at 7 p.m. on Thursdays through Aug. 27 with Wendel Werner on Aug. 6, The Lonetones on Aug. 13, Amanda Ingram on Aug. 20 and April Taylor on Aug. 27.