This summer, DMV theatergoers have a wide range of different shows to check out. Classics by William Shakespeare A Midsummer Night’s Dream asks what it means to love and to dream. With such universal themes, this play is constantly being produced, so what makes this production stand out from the rest?

Folger Theater A Midsummer Night’s Dream is majestic and enchanting. Produced at the monumental National Building Museum, this production puts a fresh spin on this classic story. Any worries that the show will be swallowed up by this ambitious venue fade away as audiences are immersed in history and made their way through The Playhouse to their seats. Tony Cisek, Director of Scenic Design and creator of The Playhouse, together with Yael Lubetzky, Lighting Designer, create a space that seamlessly connects worlds. Lubetzky illuminates this whole room, perfect be aware of the huge atrium and 150+ foot ceilings at the National Building Museum. The work of Cisek and Lubetzky is comprehensive and complements the architecture that surrounds them without forgetting a single detail. The costumes by Olivera Gajic are just as wonderful and also add to the volume of this production. Gajic’s colorful creations cover a wide spectrum, from skirts that drape from second floors to elegant everyday streetwear. The National Building Museum is truly awesome and supports a cast and creative team doing the same.

Directed by Victor Malana Moag, this production places this classic tale in a contemporary setting. Expect highly skilled actors and masterful Shakespearean language, but also expect those rules to be broken. This 90 minute adaptation was dissected and recomposed to highlight love in all its forms as passionate, jealous, lustful, beautiful, complicated, abusive, ridiculous and even limitless. Moag plays heavily with the idea of ​​a dream space that drops audiences and actors in and out of their reality, complete with hilarious comedy and emotional climaxes framed by modern language, movement and music. Movement and music are two of the most unique things about this production. Choreography by Alexandra Beller and sound design & original music by Brandon Wolcott convinces all listeners that this story is meant to be melodic. These elements bring out new weaknesses and quirks in each character.

Review: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM Presented by Folger Theater at the National Building
Puck (Danaya Esperanza, center stage) and fairies begin Folger Theater’s production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. At the National Building Museum, July 12 – August 28, 2022. Photo by Brittany Diliberto.

This ensemble of actors is highly talented and features stunning local and national performers. Jacob Ming-Trent (below), John Floyd (flute), John-Alexander Sakelos (Peter Quince), Brit Herring (Snout), Sabrina Sawyer (Snug) and Kathryn Zoerb (Starveling) steal the show by playing equally hysterical and awkward actors play as they are scary playing a group of fairies. Bryan Barbarin (Demetrius), Renea Brown (Helena), Lilli Hokama (Hermia) and Hunter Ringsmith (Lysander) give imaginative interpretations of the lovers, finding the humanity and humility at the core of these well-known characters. Rotimi Agbabiaka (Theseus and Oberon), Nubia M. Monks (Hippolyta and Titania) and Danaya Esperanza (Puck and Egeus) all bring these shifting worlds and realities together, commenting on the juxtapositions between them while creating different characterizations and hierarchies essential to this story .

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a whimsical and wondrous production that stands out from the rest. The combination of classic and contemporary in this production will be loved by longtime fans and those who have never experienced it before. A Midsummer Night’s Dream presented by Folger Theater will be performed at the National Building Museum from July 12 through August 28. The show lasts 90 minutes with no intermission and tickets are $20 – $85 and can be purchased at the Folger Theater box office at www. (202) 554-7077. Proof of vaccination and a well-fitting mask are required for entry.

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