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A Midsummer

Night's Dream

By William Shakespeare

Directed by L. Robert Johnson

"Love looks not with the eyes,

but with the mind"

July 1992

Thus it begins:  In the spring of 1992, L. Robert Johnson, a veteran actor and technician with such companies as NY Gilbert & Sullivan Players & All Souls Players noticed that no outdoor Shakespeare was being produced in his native Jersey City.  Though, outdoor shows were abound in NYC, no local theater companies were out in the parks during the summer months.  Having worked some of these NY Shakespeare shows, Mr. Johnson thought to try something new and got permission to produce a show in the local venue of Hamilton Park.  Trying his hand at producing and directing for the first time, he gathered some theater friends and chose to produce a simple staged reading of A Mid Summer Night's Dream.  Johnson felt that Shakespeare's comedy of mistaken lovers, bombastic acting, and supernatural elements would have a wide appeal and fun to try at the same time.  The take on the show was simple.  Let the script lead you.  Stay true to the text and have faith in what you're saying.  Make sure you're heard, be real, above all he stressed that when doing comedy, enjoy doing it. 

Rehearsals were held out in the park to get used to the outdoor elements:  kids, weather, volume adjustment, skateboarders, traffic and the other usual things that an actor has to deal with when performing.  While the initial approach was to try a reader's theater format, the group quickly found they were too antsy to be bound to a chair.  The grind and pressure of producing one's first show quickly was replaced for Johnson with a sense of joy and accomplishment at seeing a finished creative project come together.  Finally the show premiered in July of that year.  The small group, doubling up on several parts, played to a small, but receptive crowd.   Johnson called the group the "Hudson Shakespeare Company" after his initial inspiration of performing a summer Shakespeare on the NJ side of the Hudson river. 

This inaugural show had originally been meant as a one-time production, a diversion during the dog days of summer.  However, Johnson and company had found that the response was overwhelming to the production.  The usual quote heard by the cast from the variety of audience members.  "When are you coming back" or "You should do this again".    Now contemplating a return engagement, Johnson considered another Shakespeare for the following summer, however found the producing hat hard to put down.  Thus this production was followed up an indoor showing of 12 Angry Jurors.



Hamilton Park - Jersey City, NJ


To view on-line play text, character descriptions, play synopsis and other information on the play visit our A Midsummer Night's Dream section in our on-line Shakespeare Library.


To view other seasons:

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Send mail to jciccarelli@hudsonshakespeare.org with questions or comments about this web site.
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