I’ve always been a fan of A Midsummer Night’s Dream because (like the other plays by this Shakespeare fellow) it is well written, but unlike Hamlet or Macbeth it’s a comedy making fun of all the foibles of humanity . . . rather than a tragedy about the consequences of all the foibles of humanity. But did A Midsummer Night’s Dream end happily-ever-after or did it just seem that way? That is the question that The Thyme of the Season (written and directed by Duncan Pflaster) seeks to answer, all the while utilizing lots of funny jokes and allusions to our changing attitudes in the last few centuries in order to do it.
The Thyme of the Season picks up 3 months after A Midsummer Night’s Dream left off. (If you’re unfamiliar with The Bard’s original work, here’s a quick and funny wrap up of Thyme‘s “back-story”). Dream ends with everyone getting what they “want” and living happily ever after . . . at least by the standards of Medieval morality plays. Pflaster has taken this ending and, with a light sprinkling of modern thinking and imagination, come up with new misadventures for the couples (faerie as well as human) to struggle with - truly giving the audience something to think about in terms of what it means to be happy if you really become aware of who you are and who you would really want to be.
The Thyme of the Season does a good job of illustrating what happens when you think you have everything - but really have just the first few steps in the direction of self-discovery.
When we catch up with the old gang things are as crazy as ever:
The fairies – Oberon (Ryan G. Metzger), Titania (Michelle Ramoni), Puck (Clara Barton Green) and Pumpkinseed (Tania Jeudy) - have to find a soul to give as tithe to Hades or face being banished to Hell.
Helena (Kelly Nichols) and Hermia (Rebecca Hirota) run into Bottom (Eric C. Bailey) on the street and then don costumes to become a troupe of Pirates and a witch. Lysander (Shawn McLaughlin) is quite gay but wants to be true to his wife. Demetrius (Matt Falber) is easily confused, and Puck (Clara Barton Green) is always sleepy because a spell was cast on him. Titania and Oberon fight and bicker and scheme and get depressed and then everything works out. A new character rounds out the cast – Pumpkinseed (Tania Jeudy) who is defined as a newly hatched fairy whose fresh energy moves the plot forward as everyone struggles against their own archetypes.
Live musical accompaniment during the scene changes – composed and performed by Matt Applebaum – sets just the right tone for this play and makes for an enjoyable transition. (Viola and Horn on various nights played by Michelle O’Connor and Jesse Neuman).
Ultimately, The Thyme of the Season succeeds in what it sets out to do – it’s a great, colorful and worthy successor to the “prequel”. From the costumes (Mark Richard Caswell), to the clever dialogue which stays faithful to the period while still advocating modern ideals (without creating jarring anachronisms). While fans of Shakespeare will recognize a lot of themes, you don’t necessarily have to be a fan of the original to thoroughly enjoy this tale . . . moniker of “sequel” aside, Thyme is well developed enough to stand on its own and is an enjoyable piece of theatre. Definitely make the thyme to see it.
~~~THE THYME OF THE SEASON Produced by Cross-Eyed Bear Productions benefiting Planned Parenthood Written and Directed by Duncan Pflaster Live Music composed and performed by Matt Applebaum Costumes by Mark Richard Caswell Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission Venue: The Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond Street Performance dates: Sat 6/5 @ 1:30pm Sun 6/6 @ 7pm Tues 6/8 @ 9pm Fri 6/11 @ 5:30pm Sun 6/13 @ 11:30am Fri 6/18 @ 5pm Sat 6/19 @ 7pm Wed 6/23 @ 5:30pm Purchase tickets here