One of Colorado’s tranquil county parks is descending back into the medieval mania of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummers Night’s Dream.” This abridged production will take place at Riverdale Regional Park in Adams County and is a collaboration with Adams County, Denver Center for the Performing Arts and Denver Botanic Gardens. The performance is on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2-3 p.m. Admission is free, however you will need to register.
Set in the woods near Athens, William Shakespeare drew upon the folklore of his time to produce a madcap comedy of impressive proportions: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” And yet, it’s also an ode to the personal magic of the wild to change the hearts and minds of people passing through.
Today, many people credit the wild landscapes of their home with personal significance, greeting the trees and fields as old friends. It is almost required Colorado ethos to seek the outdoors for beauty, for sport or for challenge. Shakespeare’s Athenian woods, though, host unfettered fairies who toy with the affections of the four young protagonists. Squeezing flower juice in the humans’ eyes as a love potion was a fantastic, mythological plot device, but Shakespeare’s sense of what would be magical enough has held this play in the theater-going consciousness across centuries and continents.
Many in Shakespeare’s audience would have had some familiarity with herbal lore and with common plants. In Riverdale Regional Park, a crew of volunteers will be bridging the gap between Shakespeare’s plants references and modern life. Armed with knowledge and with real plants, the Gardens’ docents will turn some of Shakespeare’s plant references into tangible experiences for audience members.
To join the audience on Sept. 30 all you need to do is register. Be sure to dress suitably for the weather and bring sunscreen and a water. Oh, didn’t I mention? Yes, this performance is planned for outdoors, another feature in common with performances in Shakespeare’s time. What better way to celebrate the growth and beauty of Riverdale Regional Park than by an outdoor performance with Riverdale’s scenic landscape as backdrop?
Registrants will get an update by email a few days beforehand in case forecasts turn.
All three partners—Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Denver Botanic Gardens and Adams County—are eager to tap into a longstanding tradition of outdoor theater and settle right into the Platte River Valley.