After Rachel Kelly’s experience as artistic director of last summer’s Shakespeare in the Garden production at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, she knew that producing “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in the garden’s gorgeous amphitheater would be a great idea.
“The Santa Fe Botanical garden is the ideal setting for this Shakespearean play,” says Kelly, who directs the production that opens on August 18 and runs through September 2.
Featuring a cast of primarily New Mexico actors and a few pros from New York, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is the star of Shakespeare in the Garden’s second season and a collaboration between the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, Shakespeare in Santa Fe and the Shakespeare Guild.
The play is the comedic story of events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the former queen of the Amazons. Audience members watch the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors who are manipulated by fairies inhabiting the forest in which most of the play is set.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which was written in 1595/1596 and first performed in 1605, is one of Shakespeare’s most popular works and widely performed around the world.
“We’re presenting it not as theater-in-the-round, but close to it,” explains Kelly. “The garden is such a beautiful venue, filled with roses and lavender and great views of the mountains. We invite audience members to bring their own picnic dinners and enjoy pre-performance entertainment of Renaissance music played on the flute, guitar and percussion and sung by cast members.”
Since the venue’s seating capacity is around 200 per night, it’s best to purchase tickets as far in advance as possible.
“We are doubling the number of performances we’re presenting this summer because we sold out performances last summer and had to turn people away,” Kelly adds.