PARIS, Ill. —
Discover Shakespeare’s comedic spectacle, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” as the group Stone Soup Shakespeare presents its magical and free production at 6 p.m. CDT on May 26 in Twin Lakes Park at Paris, Ill.
Set against the backdrop of a coal mining town, the production will combine skilled Shakespearian acting with elements of magic and live music to create an enchanting telling of this Shakespeare classic.
Executive director of Stone Soup Shakespeare and the show’s director, Jeffrey Golde, will create a production that includes eight actors playing 19 characters.
“This is the definition of an ensemble production,” Golde said. “Actors rely on each other to tell the story as they quickly morph from one character to another. The audience is an essential piece of the ensemble too. They must give the actors permission to transform the world around them.”
“When a production allows and encourages the audience to participate in telling the story of the play, the entire experience benefits from a special kind of energy that you can only find at a live performance,” said Julia Stemper, artistic director for Stone Soup Shakespeare.
“As a general rule we try to include the audience in our productions and make them an essential part of the story. Throughout the show we will encourage the audience to even participate in the action. As an outdoor production, the play isn’t just on a single stage, but it is the entire world around us,” Stemper said.
Keeping in the spirit of the story of Stone Soup, cans of soup will be accepted for the Compassionate Food Ministry. Audience members are welcome to bring their own picnics.
This program is partially supported by the Carbondale Community Arts Southern Arts Fund and by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.
The Paris event is presented by Paris Public Library, the Paris Park Board and Friends of the Paris Library.
About the production
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” finds four lovers in an enchanted wood.
Unbeknownst to them they are in the midst of a lover’s quarrel between Oberon and Titania, the King and Queen of the Faeries.
Oberon’s trusty and rascally sidekick Puck is enlisted to help in the Faerie King’s efforts to teach his Queen a lesson in love.
Using love potions, disguises and magic spells, Puck sets about creating mischievous mayhem with everyone he encounters.
This production will feature a professional ensemble of artists from Southern Illinois and Chicago.
Company includes: Joe Bianco (Bottom/Egeus), Lauren Connor (Helena/Snug/Moth), Sean Driscoll (Lysander/Flute/Cobweb), Nicole Goeden (Hermia/Snout/Mustardseed), Jeffrey Golde (Director), Benjamin Ponce (Puck/Philostrate), Robert Price (Demetrius/Quince/Peaseblossom), Chad Ramsey (Oberon/Theseus), Julia Stemper (Titania/Hippolyta).
About Stone Soup Shakespeare
Stone Soup Shakespeare was founded by Jeffrey Golde and Julia Stemper in 2010.
Its mission is to bring free professional theater to areas without access to it. Developed during Stemper’s time studying at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and drama, the company continues to present theater events in both the U.S. and England.
Stone Soup’s first tour was a production of “Romeo and Juliet” in 2011.
It was seen in three states during a one-week tour and included professional actors from England, Scotland, New York, Chicago and the Southern Illinois region who have appeared off-Broadway, regionally and on national and international tours.
The company is also committed to theater education, running workshops and classes for adults and students.
For more information visit stonesoupshakespeare.com.