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Lakewood puts twist on Shakespearean classic

by: Submitted Photo, The cast of Lakewood Theatre's

In this update of Shakespeare's classic, Lakewood Theatre Company transforms the setting of A Midsummer Night's Dream to the town of Athens, California near the towering Redwoods.

Shakespeare's players romp through a psychedelic forest on a magical mystery tour to the music of The Beatles, The Doors, The Beach Boys and others. The establishment is rocked by the 'Summer of Love!'

Shakespeare's comedy follows an intriguing story line: Lysander (Chris Murray) loves Hermia (Lauren Bair), and Hermia loves Lysander. Sounds simple enough? In this most beloved of Shakespeare's comedies, nothing is quite that simple. Helena (Melissa Whitney) loves Demetrius (David Burnett); Demetrius used to love Helena, but now loves Hermia. Hermia's father (Don Stewart Burns) prefers Demetrius as a suitor and enlists the aid of Theseus, the Mayor of Athens (Gary Powell). Hermia, given four days to choose between Demetrius, life in a nunnery, or worse, chooses none of the above and escapes with Lysander into the surrounding forest, where, in typical Shakespearean tradition, complications ensue.

The lovers stumble upon a land of fairies whose king, Oberon (also Gary Powell), and queen, Titania (Trisha Todd) are currently involved in a nasty domestic squabble. He seeks possession of a young Indian boy, while she steadfastly refuses to give him up. Oberon enlists the help of his servant, Puck (John Morrison), to play a wicked trick on Titania. Puck is ordered to apply a charm while Titania is sleeping that will make her fall in love with the first creature that she sees upon awaking. Unfortunately, Puck also uses the charm on Lysander and Demetrius, causing them to reverse their affections and pursue Helena.

Also in the forest are a group of local craftsmen led by Nick Bottom (Danny Bruno) who hope to impress Theseus with a passionate theatrical performance. Their open-air rehearsal is rudely interrupted when Puck transforms Bottom's head into that of a donkey. Matters go from bad to worse when the charmed fairy queen awakes and is mesmerized by Bottom's new hairy face.

The cast for A Midsummer Night's Dream also includes Tim Jaeger, Spencer Conway, Hollis Wilson, Jeremy Southard, Kate Donovan, McKenna Twedt, Rachel Neiheisel, Bonnie Auguston and Brittney Hancock. Stage direction for LTC's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream is by Don Alder. Stage design is by Chris Whitten, lighting design is by Glenn Fujimura, props are by Felix Kelsey, costume design is by Margaret Louise Chapman, stage manager is Emilea Rivera and the producer is Kay Vega.

A Midsummer Night's Dream opens Friday, July 14th at Lakewood Theatre Company and continues Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 7:00 PM until August 20th, 2006. There are also Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM on July 23, August 13 and August 20.

The theatre is located at Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State Street in Lake Oswego.

Ticket prices are $24 for adults and $22 for students and seniors and are available through the Lakewood Theatre Box Office at (503) 635-3901 or online at: www.lakewood-center.org.