A Midsummer Night’s Dream coming to Concord

June 13, 2023

The World’s A Stage Players to perform free outdoor Shakespeare

Eleven years ago, The Concord Players tried something new. They staged a free, abridged performance of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the lawn of the Concord Free Public Library.

Now, after a decade of well-received Shakespearean productions, that same troupe is back with its 10th production – a reprise of “Midsummer,” one of The Bard’s most beloved comedies.

“Quite a bit has changed since that first year,” says director Nick Meunier, “but, then again, quite a bit hasn’t. That first year was incredibly hot, so we’ve moved the performances back to 5 p.m.. And we’ve gotten microphones for the actors, so we don’t have to shout over the traffic noise. But the basics are still there – it’s still on the library lawn, it’s still free, and it’s still a chance to see classic Shakespeare in a relaxed, family-friendly outdoor setting.”

A few years back, the troupe dubbed itself The World’s A Stage Players to formalize its commitment to Shakespeare. “It’s a well-known phrase from ‘As You Like It,’ which we staged three years ago,” notes Meunier “so it seems to fit.”

Performances are a little earlier in the season than usual for this summer. Outdoor shows will take place on June 17, 18, 24 and 25 at 5 p.m. at the Concord Free Public Library, 129 Main Street in Concord Center. There is also an indoor performance at 51 Walden Street on Friday, June 23 at 7 p.m. If it rains on the day of an outdoor performance, the production will move inside to 51 Walden. “But that’s only happened one or two times,” recalls Meunier. “We’ve been amazingly lucky weather-wise.”

As for the earlier dates, there’s a reason for that too, and it’s a real boon for Shakespeare lovers. “Our group has always focused on plays suited to the season and a fun, accessible vibe,” says Ed Bernard, a Concord resident and original troupe member. “But we also have wanted to tackle Shakespeare’s histories. One way to accomplish both things is to have two productions each summer, not just one. So, just after Labor Day, we will be performing Richard II, the first in the so-called Henriad, which includes eight plays and covers 185 years of English history.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a madcap mashup of Shakespeare’s own creation. You’ve got magic, fairies, Greek heroes, lovers and intentionally bad actors,” said Nick. “It’s a giddy mixture of romance, witty repartee, sheer slapstick, and a happy ending.” In other words, a perfect way to kick off the summer.

Attendees can bring their own chairs or blankets, and limited seating will be available. Admission is free however donations will be gratefully appreciated. For more information, visit www.concordplayers.org.