Four young people in flowing colorful robes surround Bottom, who is playing a guitar and wearing donkey ears.
Jack Morsovillo (Bottom) surrounded by Fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream with Midsommer Flight. From left: Kat Zheng, Hannah Mary Simpson, Elizabeth McAnulty Quilter, and Travis Shanahan Credit: Steven Townshend/Distant Era

On its ten-year anniversary and return from a COVID-19 hiatus, Midsommer Flight is restaging A Midsummer Night’s Dream,the play that started it all in 2012. On the night I attended, the crowd, close to 100 people by my estimation and incredibly engaged, was compelling proof that free summer Shakespeare continues to bring communities together around art that stands the test of time. The reason it stands the test of time? Strong, diverse casting by casting director Karissa Murrell Myers and accessible, entertaining interpretation by director and company founder Beth Wolf. The large cast masterfully employs modern body language and vocal intonation to convey the meaning behind Shakespeare’s prose, helping the audience toward a more intuitive and visceral experience, rather than an overly intellectual head-scratcher. 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Through 8/21; see for complete schedule and information; free

While the story’s many subplots converge around the couplings of Lysander and Hermia and Demetrius and Helena, the ancillary characters shine as the instigators of comic relief, both physical and with well-timed verbal barbs. Barry Irving delivers as two charismatic taskmasters, Quince and Egeus, giving each nuanced differences while maintaining a thread of simmering, put-upon, “Do I have to do everything myself?” frustration. Jack Morsovillo is a charming ham as Bottom, the weaver who winds up with the head of a donkey. Ebby Offord is a mischievous, prancing Puck, bringing the otherworldly magic and gleeful moments expected of one of the Bard’s most iconic characters. Original music by Justin Cavazos is a fun addition, helping the production stick the landing with energy and comforting positivity.