What's it about?
A Midsummer Night's Dream follows the antics of a group of faeries that meddle with the love life of four unknowing people.
What'd I experience?
The part that appealed to me the most about this show (besides the fact that it was free) was the fact that it took place in a parking lot. It was kind of a play on "Shakespeare in the Park" but instead was "Shakespeare in the Parking Lot." I know, a little cheesy, but I live for that kind of stuff. So, seeing that it was free I decided to invite a few friends along so I wouldn't have to go it alone (and to back me up in case I stumble into the wrong parking lot and get myself into trouble).
We got there a bit early and since I figured it would be a hot day, I bought a gallon of water so I wouldn't die while watching it. It ended up being pretty nice out, but I did end up drinking almost the entire gallon in about 20 minutes, so I desperately needed to use the bathroom. About 15 minutes before the show a guy comes out and tells the crowd that there was a bathroom located around this little corner thing. I figured "maybe I can hold it I don't think the play will be that long." Then I saw that it was going to be 2 hours with no intermission - I decided it was better to just go.
So I got up and went to the little corner where the guy said the bathroom was and asked one of the stagehands (or parking lot hands, I'm not sure what to call them) where the bathroom was and they said there was no bathroom. I found this kind of strange, seeing how that guy just said there was one back there, but since we were in a parking lot and already outside I decided to go on a quest to find a bathroom. I eventually found my way into the actual building that was hosting the event, pleaded with the guard, and he let be use the bathroom 2 floors up and to the left (weirdly specific I know, but the desperation engraved it in me.) Now, I instantly knew I wasn't supposed to be there because as soon as I walked in there was an acting troupe there practicing lines and stuff while standing around the window. And when I get into the bathroom, there's a whole set up with a shower and everything. Obviously, I was using these actors' bathroom. To make it even weirder, they all randomly started singing "Oops I Did I Again" by Britney Spears while I was trying to do my thing. It was very scary at the time.
Anyway, I made my way back to my seat and my friend informed me that I missed a sword fight and that they sung "Oops I Did It Again", which explained a lot for me. That's about where my grasp on the story ends. I couldn't really hear because there was a lot of noise at points with the various crowds of drunk girls going by and loads of ambulances, cop cars, and police helicopters going by (which in hindsight probably should have caused some concern). But, I had an incredibly fun time. You could tell all of the actors were really enjoying themselves and were so passionate about the show. The atmosphere gave it this really laid back vibe. They also modernized the story a bit, changing the locations to various places in Manhattan like the Village and Union Square, and having the profession of some of the characters be techies at Google.
My favorite modernization to the show was the music that was involved. There was one point in the show where one of the spirits (wearing this really cool vest with crow feathers lining the neck) was saying how he needed to be brave and all of a sudden started singing "Lose Yourself" by Eminem. Then my friend and I did something we were never able to do in theater before: sing along. It was encouraged even. Then at another point "Work It" by Missy Elliot came on and everybody in the crowd was dancing along. Even the father or king or whatever had a musical part, and he kept coming out with an acoustic guitar and played various love songs from the 80's like "Sweet Child O' Mine".
After my friends and I left we all pretty much agreed that we barely understood what we just saw, especially after that weird play within the play part at the end, but we all did have a fun time. The music was great, the actors were passionate, and there were a lot of genuinely fun moments. I guess it was the whole vibe of the place. The scenery was laid back, the weather was great, and the encouragement of audience participation was something I never really witnessed before. It made me want to go to way more events like that, with that very intimate feel and an understanding that the audience is going to want to sing along if you play awesome songs. Easily one of the most memorable theatre experiences I've had, despite being really confused.