Write Now: Shakespeare Play To Be Performed In Mayville

It is my favorite play by Shakespeare.

And like all plays by Shakespeare, it’s meant to be heard and not read.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is my favorite because it is a play within a play.

In my opinion, the best word to describe how it was written is — clever.

The play is full of magic, wit, love, and comedy.

I’ll admit, it was hard reading the play, so I borrowed a recording from a library and listened to it while I read the lines from The Pelican Shakespeare edition. It made the play make more sense because I understood what the characters were doing. In the Pelican Editions, there are few stage directions. Also depending on what recording you are listening to or what version of the text you are reading, there may be some lines removed, and so it may seem like the play is skipping parts. Usually it’s minimal words that are omitted.

According to Russ McDonald, editor of the Pelican edition, “Its predictable success owes something to the surefire last act, where the bad acting and excruciating verse of the play-within-the-play send people out of the theater in a jolly mood.”

I can’t argue that point. If you have seen the play, then you know what I am talking about.

McDonald adds “Shakespeare gives us what we want when we go to a comedy: foolishness, the triumph of love and youth, magic, poetry, laughter. But he also provides something we may not know we want, effects and meanings that distinguish the greatest comedy: these include an ironic awareness that the joys attained are necessarily costly, anxiety about the evanescence of the theatrical fantasy, and recognition that the world to which we must return is not so pretty. It is this combination of mirth and depth that makes A Midsummer Night’s Dream one of Shakespeare’s most enduring and meaningful comedies.”

If you have not seen the play, then I urge you to go see the play. It will be staged in Mayville from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, and is the first performance of the 2019 Entertainment in the Park Summer Concert Series at Lakeside Park. The Chautauqua Institution’s Chautauqua Theater Company will perform the play.

According to Mayville/Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce, it is a 90-minute version of the play. The performance is provided at no charge through the generous sponsorship and support by the Village of Mayville and town of Chautauqua. In case of rain, the performance will take place at the Carlson Community Center, also located at Lakeside Park.

The chamber also urges people wishing to attend to bring their own seating.

Also, the chamber noted in a press release, The Maple Springs Volunteer Fire Department will be at the performance selling barbecue dinners for a fundraiser. The Mayville Volunteer Fire Department will also be on hand offering popcorn and water on a donation basis as well during the performance, benefiting the fire department.

If you are new to Shakespeare or know you are going to have to read a Shakespeare play for a high school English class or college literature class, then go see the production. After watching the play, Shakespeare may make more sense to you as well.

For more information call 753-3113.