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What’s better then spending a warm summer’s evening in the park?

Spending an evening in the park watching some Shakespeare of course! For the last twenty-five years Shakespeare in the Park has been a Nashville staple with the Nashville Shakespeare Festival performing free performances of one Bard’s plays every weekend from August to September.

This year for the twenty-fifth anniversary the Nashville Shakespeare Festival opened up a whole new take on one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, “ A Midsummer Night’s Dream”; taking place in the south with iPhones and convertibles the classic tale is hilarious and fantastical no matter the setting. To spice up the bard’s tale this rendition brings the play right to the audience with the actors running and dancing through aisles in energetic and exciting dance numbers; not to mention the lively entr’acte crowd music where the cast got everyone in the audience to join together to make a song. But, what was even more for was the play itself.

Now I have to be honest here: Before this performance I’d never seen A Midsummer Night’s Dream before and I had no idea where the story was going to go so all of my reactions weren’t any that I had before. And, as a new comer to the play I can honestly say that was hilarious text has a joke, a pun, or just a ridiculous, over the top moment every minute and they all translate well to a modern audience, but this smooth transition from past to present is made even easier with the amazing performances throughout the show. Just to mention a highlights, Savannah Frazier plays a hilarious but also very sympathetic Helena, fighting tooth and nail for her beloved Demetrius; Raffeal Sears is a does a great Lysander bringing an air of loyalty and honor to the character (before he goes nuts); Craige Hoover as Nick Bottom had me crying laughing multiple times throughout the show; and who could forget the mischievous and other-worldly character of Puck played by Andrew Gumm who watches the drama between humans and fantasy with childish glee that he shares with the whole audience.

If you plan on dropping in to my fair city in the summer I suggest that you take a trip to Centennial Park and once you’ve taken in the fantastic botanical displays, toured the Parthenon, and played some Frisbee around the park if your lucky enough to be there for a Shakespeare in the Park performance I implore you to go. You’ll be entertained from the start and you will leave with a smile on your face.

Contributed exclusively for MONOLODGE by Lauren Churchwell

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