Review: The Shakespeare Challenge (Shakespeare in Action)

Shakespeare in Action does a terrific job with A Midsummers Night’s Dream at Toronto’s Arts and Letters Club

Take a group of dedicated volunteers and interns, add nine community members – not necessarily actors – then add six rehearsals with a professional director, shake it up a bit and you have The Shakespeare Challenge; the first annual (I hope) benefit for Shakespeare in Action.

On Friday night those nine community members performed an abridged version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto. And performed it well.

Shakespeare in Action is a Toronto theatre company that brings live theatre and special programs to young people across Ontario. They’re fabulous. I’ve seen two of their productions – Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth – and loved both. I wish there had been a company like this when I was in school; I wouldn’t have had to wait until this late in life to appreciate Shakespeare.

The performers were Angelina Chikhalina, Jeff Uy, Katie Leamen, Lindsay Sippel Eitzen, Natasha Oliveri, Roselyn Kelada-Sedra, Stephanie Bathgate, Suzanne Manvell and Wendy Krekeler. They did a terrific job. There’s a play within the play – Pyramus and Thisbe – and they played it strictly for laughs. There were a lot of laughs. Pyramus dying was one of the funniest things I’ve seen, it just went on and on.

The funds raised by the evening will be used to pay for tickets for students who couldn’t otherwise afford to see the shows produced by Shakespeare in Action.

Congratulations to everyone who was involved in organizing the event. It must have been so much work. Looking in from the outside it appeared that everything went off without a hitch. I’m already looking forward to next year.


The Shakespeare Challenge presented A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Arts and Letters Club (14 Elm Street)

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