For 34 years San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s Shakespeare on Tour program has traveled across California bringing a one-hour version of a Shakespeare play to thousands of students and Shakespeare fans. After the Spring 2020 tour of Macbeth was abbreviated due to the pandemic, our touring troupe of actors is back on the road with Shakespeare’s antic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They bring sets, props, costumes, and music to stage a fun-filled hour-long performance. At the end of the show the cast will stay for a Q&A session with the audience. Although the majority of performances take place in schools as a curriculum enrichment, performances are also scheduled at libraries that the public is invited to attend.
Audiences of all ages will find this quintessential comedy to be quite engaging as well as enriching. Mixed-up lovers, sparring fairies, and bumbling actors all collide in a confluence of comedy that’s readily enjoyed by all. The clever word-play and physical comedy cushions the impactful themes of human folly and foible. Walk-on roles for audience volunteers add to the fun.
The production is professionally directed by Festival Resident Artist Sydney Schwindt to be suitable for elementary students through adults. In addition to being a Festival Resident Artist, Sydney is an actor, fight director, teaching artist, and visual artist. She is also a visiting professor of movement (specializing in Commedia and Clown) at Indiana University and the former stage combat instructor for the graduate program at American Conservatory Theater.
Along with bringing her experience of physical comedy, clowning and stage combat, Sydney will thematically explore environmental awareness and issues of consent in her direction of “Midsummer.” She comments ” I think it’s a nearly perfect play with magic and rhyming couplets. I love the three different worlds that exist – the mechanicals, the fairies, and the lovers. This play is perfect for introducing audiences of all ages to Shakespeare. There is something for everyone!”
The cast is comprised of five full-time actors who will tour California with the show:
- Christopher Prescott Carter: Oberon, Demetrius, Flute
- Yamini Jain: Hermia, Titania, Quince
- Robert Kittler: Lysander, Bottom, Cobweb
- Charlie Lavaroni: Egeus, Helena, Snout, Peaseblossom
- Parker Sera: Puck, Theseus, Starveling
Alternates to these five are:
- Alan Coyne: Oberon, Demetrius, Flute
- Natalie Ayala: Hermia, Titania, Quince
- Evan Held: Lysander, Bottom, Cobweb
- Bianca Chesnut: Egeus, Helena, Snout, Peaseblossom
- Marjan Safa: Puck, Theseus, Starveling
The production and design team includes:
- Min Kahng: Composer
- Lee Garber-Patel: Costume Designer
- Robyn Grahn: Production Manager.
Schools that book the show also receive a curriculum guide written by professional educators, with lesson plans designed to help teachers prepare their students to more fully appreciate the performance. Since the tour itinerary is currently at capacity, Educators and others who may be interested in booking a future tour are encouraged to contact the Festival via email ([email protected]) or phone (415-558-0888) to receive notice about future tour shows.
All are invited to attend any of the following public performances of Shakespeare on Tour’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
- Wed March 1 – 6:30pm – Millbrae Library, 1 Library Ave, Millbrae, CA 94030
- Thurs March 2 – 7 pm – Reedley College – Forum Hall, 995 N Reed Ave, Reedley, CA 93654
- Sat March 25 – 2 pm – San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102
- Wed April 12 – 3 pm – Foster City Library,1000 E Hillsdale Blvd, Foster City, CA 94404
- Sat April 22 – 1 pm – San Carlos Library, 610 Elm St, San Carlos, CA 94070
- Tues April 25 – 6 pm – San Mateo Library, 55 W 3rd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94402
- Sat May 6 – 1 pm – Belmont Library, 1110 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont, CA 94002
Since its beginning, the Festival has been bringing the words and themes of William Shakespeare to audiences throughout the Bay Area and beyond, regardless of their age, ethnicity, financial status, or level of education. The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival believes that Shakespeare experienced in a communal setting -‐ whether outdoors, in a classroom, in a theater, or live online -‐ elates the soul, inspires the mind, and unifies those who sit beside each other
Photo: Sydney Schwind