The show must go on. And for The Arlington Players, its upcoming production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will come with a unique twist.
The show initially was slated as a key component of the troupe’s schedule in 2020, a schedule that was wiped out by COVID.
Leaders of the organization decided to continue with plans to stage “Midsummer,” but took a fresh look at how to present it.
“The world was a different place,” said Erin Branigan, who will direct the show. “I think we can benefit from remembering the power present in simple acts of kindness and compassion.”
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – presented by the Arlington Players once before, in 1997 – is one of the most acclaimed Shakespeare tales, dolloping out magic liberally throughout the show.
The show is slated to run three weekends, starting Jan. 15, at Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre in Arlington. It will be the first indoor, in-person show from TAP in just under two years.
Given that Shakespeare is in the public domain, local troupes have the ability to make their own creative adjustments that wouldn’t be possible with works by modern authors. The upcoming adaptation was done by Branigan and Katie Rey Bogdan.
“We liked that the cast wasn’t locked into anything in particular, with no rights guiding what could or could not be done,” said Laura Gouge, president of The Arlington Players. “I’m so excited about all the design elements that will be utilized in run and magical ways. The show will use projection, TAP’s new track system and interesting lighting, set dressing and set-design components.”
The show also has its own local composer, Donna Korn.
“It’s been wonderful collaborating with Erin to create music that supports her overall vision,” Korn said. “I hope my compositions underscore and heighten the emotions.”
The Arlington Players began life in 1951; its inaugural production was “Ring Around Elizabeth,” a show about a woman pulled in every direction by family members, and one that had played on Broadway a decade earlier.
The last production prior to the pandemic took place in January 2020, when The Arlington Players presented “A Daughter’s a Daughter,” a show that had been written by Agatha Christie under a pseudonym in the mid-20th century.
Unique among the troupe’s productions, it served as the U.S. premiere for the show; reviews faulted the script while praising efforts of the cast.
The troupe had planned to stage “Monty Python’s Spamalot” in April 2020, but it did not take place. The ensuing 2020-21 season, including the planned Shakespeare work, similarly was nixed, although the troupe did move some of its efforts online and came back with an outdoor cabaret at Lubber Run Amphitheatre several months ago.
(On tap for springtime, depending on pandemic conditions, is the musical “Singin’ in the Rain.”)
Because the shows are presented in a theater under control of Arlington Public Schools, it is likely that masks will be required of all attendees (and perhaps for performers) at least for the near term. The Arlington Players also has enacted a policy requiring proof of vaccination status, or recent COVID test, for admission, although that is subject to change.
For information, see the Website at www.thearlingtonplayers.org.