6/9/2008 - HCAC: A Midsummer Night's Dream


Teaneck New Theatre (TNT)­­—in association­­ with The Hackensack Cultural Arts Center (HCAC)—presents William Shakespeare’s spirited romantic comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Kevin G. Shinnick directs the production, which is set in the present day. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the third outing of TNT’s 22nd season, and takes the stage at HCAC, 39 Broadway, Hackensack, from June 20–29. Curtain times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m.

Nothing could be better suited to the month identified with brides and weddings than A Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. The setting: The city of Athens and a forest in the moonlight. The players: Four young lovers (Hermia and Lysander, Helena and Demetrius), a collection of amateur thespians (carpenter Quince, weaver Nick Bottom, joiner Snug, bellows-mender Flute), a duke and duchess (Theseus and Hippolyta), a band of fairies (King Oberon, Queen Titania, the faun Puck), and a magic flower that acts as a love potion. The tale: When the juice of the enchanted flower is spread on the eyelids of a sleeping person, said person falls in love with the first object he or she sees upon waking. That leads to people falling in love with the wrong people (or creatures), and to some lively adventures in the moonlit woods. The happy denouement: All the couples that should be together end up with their rightful mates.

One reason Cliffside Park resident Shinnick, a TNT co-founder, has returned to direct A Midsummer Night’s Dream is to demonstrate that Shakespeare is not stodgy. “People are force fed Shakespeare at school,” says Shinnick. “They hear readings by fellow students who don’t understand what’s going on, so the text becomes embalmed as they hear it.” Shinnick hopes audiences will discover that “the Bard was a popular and entertaining writer for the theatre.”

Helping to make that happen is assistant director Patt Tanner of N. Haledon, and the actors who bring it all to life. Lysander is played by Michael-Anthony Antoniou of Cliffside Park. His Hermia is Vanessa Rappa of New Milford. Demetrius is portrayed by Gregg Ellson of Teaneck. Playing Helena opposite him is Englewood resident Rachel Hampton. Duke Theseus and King Oberon are portrayed by Jason Lewis of Ridgewood. The Duke’s Hippolyta and King Oberon’s Queen Titania are played by Marjorie Lewis, Jason’s real-life wife. Puck is Mary Smith of Ringwood.

Rounding out the cast are Teaneck resident Alice Boarman Garcia as Quince; Maywood’s Neil Kahn as Nick Bottom; Chris Siekiewicz of Rutherford as Snug; Laura Sieniewicz, also of Rutherford as Flute; Montclair resident Candice Gibson as Egeus, parent of Hermia; and Dumont’s Juliette DeNicola as the fairy Cobweb.

Tickets for A Midsummer Night’s Dream are $15, $12 for students and seniors, and $10 for theatre parties of 10 or more. For reservations and information, call TNT at (201) 692-0200. To get directions to the theatre, visit TNT's web site at www.go-tnt.org. For online credit card ticket purchases, go to www.theatermania.com.