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Theater Review: Reduxion boasts an ethereal 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream'

Reduxion Theatre is presenting one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays — “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the CitySpace Theatre on the lower level of the Civic Center in downtown Oklahoma City. 

Almost everyone is somewhat familiar with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and the enchanted lovers dreaming in the forest as the fairies cavort around them. The convoluted story involves several plots among various groups. 

Athenian Duke Theseus is preparing the celebrations for his upcoming nuptials to Hippolyta.  A prominent citizen of Athens, Egeus, approaches Theseus for help. Egeus plans to wed his daughter Hermia to Demetrius. Hermia refuses as she loves Lysander. Hermia’s friend Helena is distraught as she loves Demetrius. The lovers retreat to the forest, Lysander and Hermia to elope, Demetrius to stop them and Helena to follow Demetrius.

Meanwhile, a group of common citizens plan to present an original play in honor of their lord’s wedding. They elect to rehearse in the forest. In the same nearby forest, Oberon, King of the fairies, enlists Puck, to enchant Titania, Queen of the fairies. The forest is a very busy place. Puck must anoint the eyes of Titania with the enchanted petals of a lovely flower Oberon has given her. There is no place more romantic than an enchanted forest. There is danger when the mischievous Puck has access to a magic love potion that directs the arrows of Cupid with unsettling results. The characters and the various plots converge, and the night is all a dream.

There is a great deal of mystery and romance in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and director Tyler Wood captures the essence. He sets the play in the 1960s, the decade of love. The paisley stockings and short dresses, along with the excellent choice of music, enhance the dream for the audience. However, the extremely intimate space of the theatre eliminates some of that mystery and cheapens the romance.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” has a large cast, and many of the roles are double-cast, some more successfully than others. Guesting as a cast member in the show he directs is Tyler Wood as Theseus.  His performance solidifies the interpretation of his direction, and it is hoped that he will continue to guest in the role. 

The role of Puck is crucial and Jessa Schinske plays the role beautifully. Except for the delightful 1960s costume, her interpretation of Puck must be just as the bard envisioned. Another highlight comes from Mariah Warren as Peter Quince, theatre troupe director and First Fairy. She plays both roles with distinction and delight. Also, Nicholas Toscani portrays the arrogant actor Nick Bottom with skill and humor.

It is impossible to credit all the actors individually, suffice it to say each contribution is a credit to the director, and Wood has excelled in his interpretation. However his casting of young women in the parts of men, specifically old men, does not pay off in this venue. The audience is simply too close to the actors to make the roles believable. This is not a criticism of the actresses who portray the men, as they have no time for makeup to help create the illusion which could work given the distance a proscenium stage offers.

In honor of St. Valentine, this production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is an excellent choice for all lovers: young and old, especially old hippies who have their own psychedelic dreams.  “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” plays through February 27.  For tickets and information, visit or call (405) 604-4730.


Elizabeth Hurd

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