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Bremerton Community Theater puts Hollywood spin on 'Midsummer Night's Dream'
Joker's Peace on the BCT season debut, Ken Ludwig's "Shakespeare in Hollywood"
Perhaps nowhere is Shakespeare’s well-known comedy of errors “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” more at home than the land of dreams itself — Hollywood.
That’s exactly where two of the Bard’s most famous characters — Oberon and Puck, King of the Fairies and the mischievous boy subject of the Midsummer Night — find themselves in this Bremerton Community Theater production, courtesy of Broadway playwright Ken Ludwig, directed by BCT’s Judy Nichols.
Having already followed Shakespeare into the woods earlier this summer for the Kitsap Forest Theater’s Rock and Roll Midsummer Night, What’s Up wanted to follow up with a look at the Bard’s creation amidst the lights, camera and action of 1930s Hollywood, in the BCT season premiere.
Opening night Sept. 5 was indeed an affair.
Amongst big name stars like Jimmy Cagney and Dick Powell (played by Justin Dielmann and F. James Raasch), Shakespeare’s stars Oberon and Puck (Rusty Flounders and Diana George) are just slightly out of place when they magically materialize in the strange new world, decked out in magical forest regalia replete with Oberon’s King of the Forest cloak, Puck’s knickerbockers and turquoise pixie-shadow.
They’d been aiming for home, a forest just outside of Athens, when Puck’s navigation went awry and directed them to Hollywood for a 24-hour romp on the set of the new Warner Brothers movie — fittingly Max Rhinehart’s film of the rollicking, yet distinguished, classic “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
“And guess who gets cast as themselves?” the BCT press release read.
Beautifully intermingling story line from the playwright, Ludwig was actually commissioned to write this play back in 2003 by the United Kingdom’s Royal Shakespeare Company.
It looks at the merging of two very different worlds through the vehicle of the classic drama characters versus modern day movie actors.
Shakespeare in Hollywood? Who would’ve thought?
The Warner Brothers, whom we actually get to meet in the play via a few on-stage conference calls between the four of them, think it’s a horrible idea.
A Shakespeare film will be a commercial disaster, the brothers say. But the big-shot brother, Jack Warner (played by Charlie Birdsell) decides the movie will be made. And so begins the comedy.
The real humor lies in the second act, at the customary soiree at the end of the first day of filming when Oberon and Puck unleash that magical flower that makes a person fall madly in love with the very next soul they see if they get the flower’s pollen in their eyes.
At first, Oberon wants to use the flower as a tool of mischievous revenge, and then to protect his love interest, one of the actresses on set. But he makes the mistake of putting that responsibility into the hands of the uber-zealous and absent-minded Puck (sounds familiar).
And soon the flower is floating around the party causing a ruckus and forming loopy love triangles amongst the blonde bombshells, movie moguls and arrogant “asses” of Hollywood.
“We can’t have a thing like that afloat in Hollywood,” Oberon tells Puck. “That’s just what they need, another excuse to copulate.”
"Shakespeare in Hollywood" will play through Sept. 28 with shows at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays at the Bremerton Community Theater, 599 Lebo Blvd. in Bremerton. Tickets are $12 general, $10 for seniors and students and $7 for kids under 12. Info: www.bremertoncommunitytheatre.org or call (800) 863-1706.