A Midsummer Night's Dream: Theater review by Jenna Scherer
The spirit of the groundlings is alive and well in a parking lot on the Lower East Side, where, for zero cost and without having to wait in any lines whatsoever, you can take in the Bard under a summer sky. The Drilling Company’s 21st season of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot begins with a perennial alfresco favorite, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. There’s nothing groundbreaking about Kathy Curtiss’s production, in which the lovers are hipsters from Chelsea who are lost on the LES, the mechanicals are tech nerds, and the fairies are…well, still fairies. But we come here to escape, and escapism is what we get: Curtiss’s actors throw themselves into the merry chaos, leaning into the play’s farcical slapstick.
At times, the performances are overly broad. But the mechanicals’ Act V presentation of “Pyramus and Thisbe…in Space!” is a camp delight, complete with plenty of tin foil. This Midsummer is decidedly uncool—the play opens with an acoustic cover of Oasis, for God’s sake—but it’s so sincere and game for anything that you can’t help rooting for it all the same.
Parking lot behind the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center (Off-Off Broadway). By William Shakespeare. Directed by Kathy Curtiss. With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs 20mins. No intermission.