A Midsummer Night's Dream | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

A Midsummer Night's Dream 

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Every summer I make a pilgrimage to Spring Green, Wisconsin, about 40 miles west of Madison, to catch the American Players Theatre. This wonderful repertory theater, founded in 1979 by a band of plucky exiles fleeing the increasingly inhospitable New York theater scene, has over the years earned a glowing reputation for their intelligent, unpretentious, thoroughly accessible productions of classical drama's great works. Several seasons ago they did a version of Sheridan's The School for Scandal that was to die for. And last season their take on Moliere's Tartuffe received such strong kudos that they took the production on tour throughout the midwest after the summer ended. Now they are on the road again, this time without their charismatic former director Randall Duk Kim, touring their version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. This remarkably clear and uncluttered interpretation of Shakespeare's popular comedy showcases a number of excellent performances, most notably Jeffrey Hutchinson in the dual roles of Theseus and Oberon, and is totally free of the sort of complicated sets and highfalutin, text-bedamned conceptual encrustation that mar all too many contemporary interpretations of Shakespeare (as in Kenneth Branagh's version of the same play, produced as part of the 1990 International Theatre Festival). As with all APT productions, nothing stands between the playwright's words and the audience but an adept, seasoned, classically trained ensemble. At the Theatre School, DePaul University, Blackstone Theatre, 60 E. Balbo, 362-8455. Saturday, October 17, 8 PM. $19.50.

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