A photo essay.

Presented each summer ’neath sky and bough, Elm Shakespeare Company’s annual rendition of one of its namesake’s plays is enough to remind us why we call theater “drama”—or, as this production’s manic, affected Puck might enunciate it, dramaaaaaa!

If you know the character, then you know the play: A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The set—located in Edgerton Park, as always—features two main elements: on the left, a mystical forest realm; on the right, a wealthy Grecian estate. Bridging and deepening them, a grassy expanse of park extends between and far behind.

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This deep field creates depth of field, which makes glorious, cinematic setpieces possible, like a scene in which Puck (Evan Gambardella) takes a distant perch while controlling the mortal puppets in the foreground. The play’s lighting design—incorporating special visual effects like blasts of smoke and twinkly fairy dustings—is excellent, amplifying the particular rhythms of this production and vitalizing some of its most awe-inspiring moments. Costumes and props, for their part, are numerous and detailed, like shiny metal swords and incredible feather masks.

All of that lends drama. So, of course, do appeals borne of unrequited or confused love, which are comically legion in this play, as are simpler but no less impassioned ambitions. Some of the play’s players seem tasked with producing every emotion imaginable within their slice of its 130-minute runtime.

It’s dramatic, sure. But it’s also great fun to witness.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Edgerton Park – 75 Cliff St, New Haven (map)
Nightly 8pm shows through Sunday, September 4.
Free; donations welcome.
(203) 392-8882

Written and photographed by Dan Mims. To see additional photos, check out the email version of this story.

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