Some gifts just keep on giving…
A Midsummer Night’s Dream was a gift to me when I got to play Oberon (in a, perhaps, 45 minute version) costumed in the shredded greenlining of my mother’s old raincoat in the fourth grade at Ridge Road Elementary in North Haven, Connecticut. It was a gift when I played one of Oberon’s fairies in seventh grade in Ray Scofield’s production at Roosevelt Jr. High in Eugene, Oregon. (I also got to go on for one performance as Snout! I remember cramming all the lines in a single afternoon and loving the excitement, the danger, the thrill.)
It was a tremendous gift when I assistant directed for the extraordinary Hungarian/Canadian director John Hirsch in 1987 in Dallas, Texas. What he taught me on that production changed my life and my work forever, and I am eternally grateful. It was a gift when I directed it at the Arden Theatre in 1998 to open The Haas Stage in our new home in Old City, and a gift yet again when I did it at the California Shakespeare Theatre and Two River Theatre in 2009.
And it is a gift again now, here, at Folger Theatre in 2016, more than 40 years after the first time I came into contact with all these fierce and fabulous lovers and fairies and would-be actors. And now that I am, shockingly, as old (or older) than almost every character in the play, it is a true delight to find that it all only seems more moving, more magical, more mysterious, and more miraculously true and human and remarkable than ever.
I’m deeply grateful to Folger Theatre for the chance to engage with this play again.
We have approached this production with all the honesty, complexity and wonder we can muster. The actors are bringing their own hearts, minds and spirits to the roles, and through their talent, skill, and generosity, we’re attempting to find small, new gifts within this well-worn, well-loved script. I’m deeply grateful to all of them—and to all the artists involved and everyone at Folger Theatre—for ll that they are bringing to this production
Finally, thank you for joining us, regardless of whether this is your first Dream, your fifteenth, or your fiftieth. We hope you will find—as I have—that if you are open, it will continue to offer you great gifts of love, laughter, insight, and inspiration each and every time.