Macbeth and A MidSummer nights Dream headline Lakeside Shakespeare
By Erin Crowell
Like night and day, Shakespeares Macbeth and A Midsummer Nights
Dream vary greatly in tone, from the dark and spooky to the light and
dreamy; however, the wooded venue of Forest Hill in Frankfort provides an
ideal setting for botheven a second characteras Lakeside Shakespeare
presents its eighth season of classic Shakespearean theatre July 28, 30
and Aug. 2 & 4 (for Macbeth) and July 29, 31 and Aug. 3 & 5 (for A
Midsummer Nights Dream).
While there are many Shakespeare in the Park performances offered
throughout the region, Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre is a Midwest affair,
using professional actors, directors and designers from Chicago to bring
the poetic and, quite frankly, ambiguous world of Shakespeare to Northern
Most peoples experiences with Shakespeare is something along the lines
of sophomore English class where you had to read a book and try to
translate the language, said Elizabeth Laidlaw, LST founder and artistic
director. When people see our shows theyll say, I had no idea! I always
thought Shakespeare was so boring and they love it because these plays
are meant to be played. Its our job for you to come in completely cold
and have no idea about the meaning; but just enjoy the story.
It will be the companys second performance of A Midsummer Nights
Dream, the story about fairies, Athenian craftsmen and dozing lovers in
an enchanted forest.
We get something completely different this time around, which is a lot of
fun, Laidlaw noted about the vision of director Scott Cummins for this
years production. So for those who saw the first Midsummer Nights
Dream, itll bear no resemblance.
Another drastic change is the scenery, thanks to a location change last
year from Elberta Waterfront Park to the new space at Forest Hillalso
known as the Old Ice Rink.
It offers a cool opportunity for both plays which have a magical element
coming out of the forest, said Laidlaw. In Macbeth, the witches are in
the woods that surround the old Scottish castle. You cant provide a
better scenery than what nature has already provided.
The trees also provide a cooler venue for audiences, guarding against the
direct light of the setting sun.
Thankfully, weve never had any rain issuesknock on woodbut people know
theyll be outside, so bring an umbrella, bug spray and remember to cover
your wine glass to keep the fruit flies out.
Although both plays are free, Lakeside Shakespeare relies primarily on
donations suggesting a $12 gift upon entry, although no one will be
turned away because they cant afford it.
We want everybody and anybody to come, said Laidlaw, noting theatre
tickets in Chicago average around $45 a real steal for professional
The actors are paid during the two weeks theyre up here, but theyre
also not making money, added Laidlaw. Most of them have second jobs; and
most survival jobs, like waiting tables, have flexibility for (the actors)
to leave for two weeks at a time but they dont receive vacation pay.
Because of expenses, the amount of time Lakeside Shakespeare spends in
Northern Michigan is limited to just two weeks that includes time on the
We start rehearsing in a room in Chicago on June 13, so thats six weeks
of rehearsal for two full-length productions with live music, sword
fighting and 13 actors playing 13 roles.
During rehearsals, the actors have to just imagine the space in Frankfort
until we get into that magical space that we dont have a name for, said
Laidlaw, acknowledging the moment the actors are there, its like
releasing a lion.
Lakeside Shakespeare returns to Forest Hill, in Frankfort, with Macbeth
on July 28, 30 and Aug. 2 & 4; and A Midsummer Nights Dream July 29,
31 and Aug. 3 & 5. All performances start at 7 p.m. There will also be a
Childrens Workshop for ages 5-12, August 2-4, from 10am-12pm at the
performance space. Admission is a suggested $12 donation per person.