A play within a play within The Ring Theatre

William Shakespeare’s most well-known comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, began its run at the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre last week. The play revolves around a number of characters in 16th century Athens, focusing on an intricate web of love.

Hermia (Megan Walter) and Lysander (Mark Ramos) want to marry in spite of the wishes of Hermia’s mother, Egeus (Courtney Smith), who wants her to marry Demetrious (Brendan Maroney). Compounding this, Helena (Lauren Conolly) loves Demetrious, but her sentiments are not reciprocated.

Comedic calamities transpire after Hermia and Lysander flee to wed on their own. Oberon (Chris Teutsch), the head fairy, directs Puck (Shaun Brown), one of his disciples, to place a spell on several characters. Though well-intentioned, Puck’s spells create all kinds of amorous enigmas.

One of the most energetic and entertaining characters is Buttons (Mike Gurrieri), who is the main character in a tragic drama produced by Quince (Matthew Goldberg) within the main show. This metadrama, a play within a play, provides a great deal of comic relief as its players prepare for their production as well as in the final scene, when the whimsical tragedy is performed in the palace.

At one point in the show, the male fairies appeared from trap doors in the stage, picking up several players and dramatically dropping them in to the smoky abyss, with a mattress and a gym mat to break their four-foot fall.

Or was it all just a dream? That is left to the audience.

Though some of the actors and actresses did not quite capture the true Shakespearean style of the show, all were on the top of their game and performed like pros. All of the elements came together though out the show, providing for a very humorous and satisfying theater-going experience.

For the dates of remaining performances, visit www.as.miami.edu/theatrearts/ring.

Greg Linch may be contacted at g.linch@umiami.edu.