Almost one full year ago, a good friend and coworker invited me and an interviewing applicant to view William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Somehow, I had gone through all of high school and college without having to read more than one or two of Shakespeare’s plays. Unfortunately, this was not one of them! Feeling moderately cheated in my literary education, I read Hamlet along with its cliff notes as a fourth year medical student (when free time is abundant…and yes, I am that big of a nerd). Thus when this opportunity arose, I was excited yet nervous, wondering if I would be able to follow the Shakespearean language.
What was unique about this showing was its setting – it was held in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art as part of the Thursdays at Twilight series. I am not sure if there could have been a more beautiful or enchanting venue — a cool fall evening beneath the majestic live oaks with their haunting Spanish moss. The first act began just within the entrance to the sculpture garden; the audience sat on the grass and watched the play unfold. We then followed the “fairies” as they led us to sit under the oaks for the next several acts. Finally, we made our way back to the bridge overlooking the water where the final scene took place. The actors even made use of a paddle boat for this scene!
Although the actors adhered to the original language, they did use some improvisation here and there, making the play easy and enjoyable to follow. It was an entertaining, funny, and simply beautiful evening. I hope they perform again before I leave the city!