William Shakespeare may have lived over 500 years ago, but his plays live on. Saturday, July 7, one of the playwright’s most popular works was brought to the stage at Reed Park, “A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream.” The live performance was part of an ongoing summer series of free outdoor events hosted by the City of Santa Monica, SaMoParks, and Santa Monica Cultural Affairs.
Prior to the performance, SaMoParks hosted a multitude of activities for youth, parents and neighbors to participate in. Heath Hamilton, Beach Recreation Supervisor, was at Reed Park with several staff from the Annenberg Beach House. Hamilton stated, “[We’re here] Saturdays through July and then on Sundays in August, we move over to Ishihara Park [formerly Stewart Street Park] for ‘Jazz on the Lawn.’” For the Meet Me at Reed event, hosted July 7, the community recreation staff brought out several games and toys; including giant blocks, a bean bag toss, Connect Four, as well as a mini field hockey ring.
“We wanted a way to get more of the kids and the families from the neighborhood to come out before the concert started and actually enjoy using Reed Park,” Hamilton said. “We’re here to do some kind of slightly guided play and have a good time.”
As the staff put away the toys and games, Joe Hernández-Kolski welcomed the attendees, many of whom had brought lawn chairs and blankets to watch the performance.
“The City of Santa Monica’s ‘Meet Me at Reed’ performances are eight free Saturday outdoor, family friendly performance between April and September. Each event features pre-concert games and family fun, followed by a concert or theatre performance by local artists; completely free to enjoy,” explained Hernández-Kolski. He has been working with the City through the Miles Memorial Playhouse for more than 16 years as a host of the popular teen open mic called Downbeat 720.
For the performance of “A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream,” actors from the Southern California Shakespeare Festival (SCSF) Guild used the lawn, two raised platforms, and a minimal assortment of costumes and props. William Dinwiddie, who has been with the SCSF Guild for eleven years was a comedic hit with the audience, causing bursts of laughter for his dual roles as Nick Bottom and Lysander. The whole play was performed with a cast of seven people –Shakespeare wrote in more than 15 characters.
“Performing at Reed Park is amazing, it’s a great opportunity for us. We’re very excited to be here, and the venue and the people are amazing,” Dinwiddie said. “Everyone has been so helpful and we’re very excited, and hopefully coming back one day and continue performing Shakespeare for people for free.”
For more information and events visit: www.smgov.net/reed.