March 14 - June 9

“The course of true love never did run smooth…” – Act I, Scene 1

In this beguiling comedy, no one ends as they began. Magic-wielding fairies, yearning lovers, and foolish clowns swap one role for another as they romp through an enchanted wood—with their antics set down in some of Shakespeare’s most glorious and indelible words. “Lord, what fools these mortals be”….and how we love them!

This show will be ensemble-directed as an ASC Artists’ Renaissance production.

Run time: 2 hours 30 minutes including one 15-minute intermission

Age requirement: 7 and up (read full policies here)

Read more about our Staging Conditions and Casting Practices here.

“If you’re looking for an uproarious good time, there’s no other place on the planet where you can wear yourself out with belly laughs, even at the oldest and cheapest gags, than the American Shakespeare Center’s current production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s always a pleasure to see the company at its comedic best, and this production is no exception; their creativity and devil-may-care attitude are on full display here, and in the intimate confines of the Blackfriars Playhouse, there’s hardly a seat where you don’t find yourself immersed in the mayhem.”

– Andrew Walker White, DC Theater Arts

Read the DC Theater Arts Review

Learn More About the Show

Stuff That Happens

Stuff That Happens in the Play

  • Theseus, Duke of Athens, is looking forward to marrying Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons.
  • Egeus, an Athenian nobleman, was looking forward to marrying his daughter Hermia to Demetrius, but Hermia is in love with Lysander and refuses to wed another.
  • Egeus appeals to Theseus, who orders Hermia to obey her father and marry Demetrius; otherwise, she will be killed or sent to a nunnery.
  • Hermia and Lysander plan to escape through the woods to Lysander’s rich aunt, who will support their marriage. They share their plan with Hermia’s friend Helena, who loves Demetrius, and reveals the plan to him.
  • Hermia and Lysander flee into the woods, pursued by Demetrius, pursued by Helena.
  • In the woods, Oberon, the fairy king, demands Titania, the fairy queen, grant him custody of her changeling child. Titania refuses.
  • As revenge, Oberon sends the mischievous sprite Puck to charm Titania’s eyes with the juice of a magic plant while she sleeps, causing her to fall in love with the first creature she sees when she awakes.
  • While plotting this revenge, Oberon witnesses Demetrius reject Helena as she professes her love for him in the woods. Oberon commands Puck to charm Demetrius so that he will fall in love with Helena; Puck, however, mistakes Lysander for Demetrius.
  • Meanwhile, Nick Bottom and his fellow workmen (“rude mechanicals”) journey into the woods to rehearse a play for Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding celebration.
  • Puck, having charmed the nearby Titania’s sleeping eyes, stumbles on the rehearsal and places an ass’s head upon Bottom. Titania wakes, sees Bottom’s ass, and promptly falls in love.
  • Confusion, chaos, catfights, and eventual conciliation ensue.