The Sacramento Theatre Company is staging Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and made sure to bring life and humor to the classic comedy.
Director Casey McClellan locates this production in a lush, mysterious forest, replete with jungle noises and shimmering New Age music.
Haunting this dark, exotic place is the prankster Puck, who in this production is presented as a bare-chested satyr, with little horns on his head, plus furry legs and hooves. The role is played by Ian Hopps, an intense young actor who plays Puck as an impish adolescent, bounding and tumbling like a gymnast or a circus clown.
Hopps as Puck always has a mischievous gleam in his eyes, smirking with glee as he plays tricks on those who wander into the forest.
Puck: “Here villain. Drawn and ready! Where art thou!”
Lysander: “I will be with you straight!
Puck: “Well follow me then to fairer ground!”
And like many a teenager, Hopps whines a bit when told to carry out the tasks he’s assigned.
Over the decades, I’ve seen more than 50 actors, male and female, play Puck, and Hopps is one of the best I’ve seen. He’s that good. You can’t take your eyes off him whenever he appears onstage.
But there are quite a few strong performances in this fast-moving, highly physical, nimble production. I found myself giggling again and again, even though I’ve seen this play dozens of times and know what’s coming in every scene.
So give yourself a treat and enjoy this STC production. And if you have a teenager in your life, take them along. You’ll both have a good time, and the infectious nonstop humor will demonstrate just how much fun a Shakespeare comedy can be.
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