Psychedelic Fairyland in the Woods
Kennedy Grove hosts We Players’ "Midsummer of Love."
"Ondine" at Sutro Baths, like We Players’ other outdoor stagings, required the audience to hike from site to site.
We Players specialize in site-specific adaptations of classic works, whether it’s Shakespeare plays or epic poetry. Partnering with the National Park Service and California State Parks, it has done such projects as Hamlet on Alcatraz, a daylong Odyssey at Angel Island, Ondine at Sutro Baths, Macbeth at Fort Point, and most recently Beowulf at the Maritime Museum and Aquatic Park in San Francisco. Most of the productions involve a lot of hiking from site to site, as different scenes are staged in different places.
Adapted and directed by artistic director Ava Roy (who also acts in the play), We Players’ latest work, Midsummer of Love, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love with an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The supernatural romantic comedy is whittled down for a cast of six, each playing multiple roles. The four lovers who keep pursuing each other in different permutations as they’re dosed with a love potion double as the comically inept amateur actors rehearsing a play in the woods, and the faerie queen and king also both play their impish servant Puck—or rather, two Pucks.
As the play takes place in the woods, so does the production. Two different woods, in fact. Kicking off new partnerships with Golden Gate Park and the East Bay Regional Park District, Midsummer of Love includes a rare East Bay run in El Sobrante’s Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area on weekends July 15-23, involving a laborious hike uphill. Before and after its East Bay run, the show also plays July 27-30 at Strawberry Hill in Stow Lake, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. Those two locations ensure that, much like love, this outdoor production will run both hot and cold, so you’ll want to dress accordingly.
Midsummer of Love, July 15-23, Saturdays and Sundays, 6 p.m., $30-$60, Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area, 6531 San Pablo Dam Road, El Sobrante, WePlayers.org.
This report appears in the July edition of our sister publication, The East Bay Monthly.