Shakespeare comes to Harlem, Harlem comes to Shakespeare!
With A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Сон в летнюю ночь — комедия Уильяма Шекспира в 5 актах.
Предстоящие в Гарлем
The Classical Theatre of Harlem launches yearly professional summer production uptown with Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
July 13–30 (on Tuesdays through Sunday )
Harlem is getting its own Shakespeare in its own park this summer, with joyful ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in the splendid new Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park July 13 – 30.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a play by William Shakespeare. It is believed that it was written between 1590 and 1596. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus, and Hippolyta. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors, who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set. The play, categorized as a comedy, is one of Shakespeare’s most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.
This special performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the CTH directed by Justin Emeka interlaces the stories of four lovers and a comical troupe of bumbling actors from the human world with those of a fairy kingdom in the supernatural realm. This extraordinary production weaves Harlem’s cultural legacy within Shakespeare’s text and invites the audience into an enchanted, concrete jungle where African spirits celebrate the playful and fickle nature of love through music, dance, and magic.
“I wanted to go beyond the ideal of simply having a color blind cast and change the play’s cultural aesthetic to African American, West African and Caribbean, to reflect Harlem,” says Emeka. He also updated the play to reflect contemporary issues. In the original version, Hermia, a young woman, is in love with a young man named Lysander, but her father has another suitor planned for her. In Emeka’s version, Lysander is Lysandra, “to incorporate our current societal tension in regards to same sex marriage,” he says. Hermia’s father is a conservative West Indian immigrant who wants to kill his daughter because of her desire. The majority of the cast consists of people of color.
Naturally, the music and dance had to reflect the same culture. Michael Wimberley, a drummer, percussionist and composer created a soundscape. He blended pop and Angolan rhythms and feature the berimbau as well as hip-hop and the music of R&B singer, D’Angelo. The duration of the play is 90 minutes with no intermission.