‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is ‘laugh-out-loud funny’
LA GRANDE — William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” spans just about every type of comedy imaginable. For La Grande Shakespeare Co. Director Grant Turner, that humor is what makes the show popular today.
“(Other shows) don’t hold up as well,” Turner said. “They don’t have that enjoyment factor that ‘Midsummer Night’ does. This show is still laugh-out-loud funny more than 400 years after it was first performed.”
One scene in which the laborers, or Mechanicals, present a play of their own provides a look at the various types of humor throughout the show.
The play within the play, “Pyramus and Thisbe,” is satirical of certain characters in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” holding a mirror to the lovers, Hermia and Lysander.
The audience can find amusement in watching Hermia and Lysander watch and criticize a play that mimics their own behaviors.
Also, the production of “Pyramus and Thisbe” is farcical, complete with unskilled actors, miscues and mispronunciations.
“It’s definitely a different approach, acting badly on purpose,” actor Rose Peacock said.
The Mechanicals break character several times, typically in response to their audience’s questions and heckling.
Finally, an innuendo appears as Pyramus and Thisbe, the ill-fated lovers, attempt to speak across the wall that divides them.
Thomas Snout, who plays Wall, realizes he has no armholes in his costume, and therefore cannot provide a hole for the lovers to speak through.
Instead, Snout maneuvers his hand to the bottom of his costume, resulting in a conversation rather close to his groin.
Turner said innuendos like those present throughout “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” are best presented subtly.
“The beauty of innuendo is in the eye of the beholder,” Turner said. “We offer it up, and it’s up to every eye to choose what to behold.”
Between farce, parody and innuendo, comedy abounds in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
In addition to humor, Shakespeare plays with the blending of reality and dream state.
There are three primary groups present in the play. The Athenians, Mechanicals and Fairies represent three separate worlds. Actor Liam Bloodgood said he has enjoyed exploring those three worlds, and he thinks the audience will too.
The Fairies are the mystical “counterpart” to the Athenians, Bloodgood said. Meanwhile, the Mechanicals perform shows that mirror reality.