This week I had the opportunity to sit down with my 7-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter to watch Northwest Children’s Theater’s (NWCT) newest digital production, A Midsummer’s Night Dream. NWCT once again collaborated with Anita Menon from the Anjali School of Dance, this time to create a new take on the classic Shakespearean tale.
The show is divided into four episodes, each about 10 to 15 minutes long. We watched the show in one sitting, and it was under an hour. Each episode opens with beautiful traditional Indian dance. Both of my kids were entranced by the dances, and said the dancing was one of their favorite things about the show. My son recognized that the hand movements had meaning, and was quite curious about them.
Although it’s an adaptation, the play maintains the Shakespearean dialogue. The youthful and diverse cast did a great job establishing a rhythm for the prose, and brought plenty of emotion and energy to make it engaging. The Shakespearean language did make it more difficult for my kids to understand the story. But they both laughed out loud at different parts and commented on the gorgeous costumes. They also enjoyed the use of digital backgrounds and creative editing techniques. Not being a Shakespeare person myself — I’m still a bit traumatized from the neverending Hamlet unit in my high school English class — I very much enjoyed this show.
Your ticket also includes bonus online content, several additional videos that go along with the episodes. There are interviews with cast and crew members, additional information about the story, a history of fairy tales around the world, and more. You can make great use of the bonus content by watching the videos before or after each episode. This will give context for the storylines and make it easier for younger family members to follow along.
Like NWCT’s in-person shows, this performance is a great opportunity to share some quality time with your family. Not only does the show provide exposure to Shakespeare in a fun and accessible way, the incorporation of Indian dance, music, and costuming may also introduce you to something beautiful and new.
NWCT recommends this show for children 8 years old and up. Our family would suggest it for slightly older ages for the children to fully understand the storyline, but 8-year-olds will be able to enjoy the dancing, costumes and acting. Watching the bonus content videos or even going over the basic background information of the story can make it more accessible to younger viewers.
NWCT is also offering online camps and classes. Both of my kiddos have participated in them and we highly recommend them. They are amazingly well done!
A Midsummer Night’s Dream: An Original Adaptation
November 12 – December 6, 2020
Unlimited access to all four episodes (11/12 – 12/6) plus bonus content
Most enjoyed by ages 8 and up