Celebrate the 30th anniversary season of Actors’ Theatre of Columbus as they perform William Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Schiller Park (German Village).
In 1982, Actors’ presented Midsummeras their first show in the park which makes it an ideal selection for the anniversary season. Thirty years later, this imaginative tale of intricate relationships, mischievous fairies, and unexpected surprises still captivates Schiller Park audience members.
This celebratory production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is co-directed by Beth Kattelman and Dee Shepherd. They decided to utilize animated puppets to serve as fairies and to bring humorous theatrical moments to life.
“The puppets are so colorful and interesting in the way that they interact,” says Kattelman.
She acknowledges the challenges an actor experiences when handling a puppet. In her opinion, the most effective puppeteers fully immerse themselves in their task, allowing their puppet to elicit response from the audience. For Midsummer,Kattelman provided many first-time puppeteers with essential advice:
“Make sure the emotion goes down your arm and into the puppet.”
Kattelman possesses a variety of puppets in her collection, including her personal favorite, the delightfully entertaining Arts Cat.
In addition to being a co-director, Kattelman designed and constructed the puppets. She also incorporated puppetry into Actors’ 2009 well-received performance of As You Like It (co-directed with Artistic Director John S. Kuhn). The production’s success inspired Kattelman and Shepherd to incorporate puppets into A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Kattelman adds that Midsummer “is such a favorite…one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies.” She especially enjoys the moment when “[the boastful Nick] Bottom’s head turns into a donkey’s head…we’ve done that with a puppet.”
The actors’ comical reactions to the transformation invite several slap-stick antics, and the puppets add a memorable component to the overall production.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs every Thursday-Sunday until July 31 (all performances at 8:00pm). The performances are located at Schiller Park in German Village (1000 City Park Ave, Columbus, OH 43206). No need to purchase tickets. It is free and open to the public, although donations are greatly appreciated. Bring a blanket or chair, a picnic and drinks, and enjoy William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
It’s perfect summer fun for all ages!