Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer’ on tap at local outdoor venues this weekend
The calendar says it’s almost autumn, but there’s still plenty of time this weekend for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” thanks to the Dorchester-based Brown Box Theatre Project. Shakespeare’s enchanting comedy about fairies, stage-struck workmen, and fickle lovers wandering around in an Athenian forest will be given five local performances this weekend.
Founded in 2009, Brown Box has been producing imaginative outdoor theater along the East Coast, including venues in Boston, New York, Maryland, and Delaware. 2013 is the ensemble’s fourth year of existence, but its third season of presenting “Free Shakespeare at the Beach.” For us this means “Free Shakespeare at Carson Beach” as well as at a couple of other venues a little farther inland.
Brown Box’s artistic director is the multi-talented Columbia resident, Kyler Taustin. He trained at Carnegie Mellon in directing and graduated from Emerson College summa cum laude with a BA in theater studies: acting and directing. Also a gifted photographer, Taustin takes the company’s production photos.
Tautsin explains that the ensemble name plays off the common theatrical term “black box theater” which refers to a flexible use playing space. “Our name comes from our desire to create theater that can be packed up in a brown cardboard box and toured to neighborhoods where perhaps folks don’t have the funds to see a show at the Huntington or ART.”
Taustin concedes that this show’s scenery and costumes don’t actually all fit in a cardboard box, but rather in a small horse trailer. This year’s production is staged under a canopied frame surrounded by pools of water, so for the full effect, try to see it at one of the ocean venues.
Some members of this multiracial, 20-something cast have impressive acting credits with much better-known Shakespearean companies. Dot residents with substantial roles in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” include Chelsea Schmidt (Helena) from the Polish Triangle, and Gabriel Graetz (Flute) and Kyle Cherry (Lysander) from Savin Hill.
Last week the crowd-pleasing troupe gave three performances at the Children’s Museum and one at the Martini Shell in Hyde Park. Three of this weekend’s shows will be at 666 Dorchester Avenue, just over the border in Southie in a space donated by the non-profit Still Point, best known as the Christmas tree lot across from Our Lady of Czestochowa church.
Show times and locations are as follows: Aug. 30 at Still Harbor, 7 p.m.; Aug. 31 at Carson Beach, 2 p.m.; Aug. 31 at Still Harbor, 7 p.m.; Sept. 1 at Marine Park (150 Farragut Road), 2 p.m.; Sept. 1 at Still Harbor, 7 p.m.
All performances are free and family-friendly. Shakespeare’s script has been whittled down to a mere 95 minutes. Bring along a blanket or lawn/beach chair.
In November, Brown Box will launch the US Premiere of “Ashes” by Ali Muriel here in Boston. Press materials describe the drama as “A tale of protection, politics, censorship, and love, ‘Ashes’ is hopeful revelation born of a blasted landscape.”
Find out more about either show at brownboxtheatre.org.