At Cite des Arts on Vine Street, AUI/AURA presents Midsummer Night’s Dream with original music composed by members of the cast. AUI/AURA is the only nonprofit community theatre company in Acadiana. Midsummer can be seen as an inspiration to the Marx Brothers movies -- you have mistaken identities, lovers being chased around, and someone is a jackass. Two factions of fighting fairies are sparring because their king and queen are in a lover’s spat. While working all that out, the fairies get rather bored and decide to meddle with some humans who are trekking through the forest, using magic to make them fall in love but with the wrong people. Hijinx ensue and there are some really funny, naughty jokes. (The BBC has a version of this with a young Dame Judi Dench running around basically naked and covered in glitter, in case your curious what M from the Bond movies was like then.)
Over on Vermilion Street at the Acadiana Center for the Arts we have As You Like It. Also a comedy, this one essentially goes like this: girl meets boy, girl and boy fall in love, girl gets banished from kingdom by uncle, girl dresses as boy to get out alive, girl travels with cousin and court jester to find her dad who is also banished and girl and boy and lots of other people get married. Much more interesting than teen comedies in movies today and far less formulaic. This is put on by the Shakespeare Summer Camp at AcA where kids learn Shakespeare, build sets, form costumes and learn how to act all in two weeks’ time.
Whether you like Shakespeare’s plays or not there is something remarkably fresh about kids performing it. There are no airs and no pretensions and no fake British accent rumbling out at you. They are exuberant and have fun with it, like it was written to be, so the audience has fun as well. Shakespeare did not write primarily for the gentry but for the common man, like Judd Apatow sporting an Elizabethan ruff.
Midsummer Night's Dream runs tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m with a Sunday mantinee, then August 4 through 6 at 7:30 p.m. for its final performances. You can get tickets and information here.
As You Like It runs tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. and these are the final performances. Tickets and information are here.