The hilarious remake of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” put on by the University of Nevada, Reno’s School of the Arts and College of Liberal Arts was absolutely nothing like what the audience expected. 

The Redfield Studio Theater was filled with laughter from the audience’s reaction to dirty jokes and dorky lines on opening night. Even the breaking of the fourth wall put a goofy spin on things.

It was clear that the production was not only about remaking a classic Shakespearean play, but it was also about creating a euphoric experience for each of the actors to make fun of themselves and connect their comedy to the crowd through the personalities of each of their roles.

The lovely Quince, played by Thomas Rao, introduces the play at the beginning, giving the audience a small glimpse of what they’re about the witness. 

Boy, was it a wild ride. 

The audience settled into silence, the lights dimmed and the world of Shakespeare took over on the stage. 

Theseus and Hippolyta, played by Kavin Sivakumar and Ilyana Hobson, enter the stage as a loving couple—though this love does not last very long. 

When conflict arises between Hermia, Demetrius, Lysander and Egeus, they must seek out Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to settle the outcome. Egeus promised Hermia’s hand in marriage to Demetrius, even though she is in love with Lysander. Unfortunately for the young couple, Theseus draws the conclusion that Hermia must marry Demetrius under her father’s orders. 

When Hippolyta realizes her fiancé has torn a loving couple’s dream apart, she is furious with him. The fate of their wedding now lingers in the balance.

Hermia, played by Kaya Miles, is one of the most suitable castings in the play. She plays a young and beautiful Athens woman with two men in love with her. Miles plays the role exponentially well. Not only does she fit a typical blonde-haired Athens girl, but her dramatic, it’s-the-end-of-the-world-if-I-don’t-find-love expressions are magnificently believable. Hermia’s monologue is also excellent and especially emotional for the audience, even with a few jokes inserted into it.

A young girl has her hand held by a male lover. She is shocked and ecstatic as he confesses his true love for her and asks her to get married.

Isaac Hoops/Nevada Sagebrush
Lysander confesses his true love for Hermia at the beginning of the play.

Demetrius, played by Nick Farro, is a handsome man who is arrogant and cocky when it comes to winning Hermia’s hand. Later in the play when Helena, played by Alexis Pedote, begs for him to be hers, he acts like a complete scoundrel, a role Farro plays quite well. 

The connection between Demetrius and Helena starts off one-sided and hysterically sad, especially when Helena grabs him by the legs and tries to stop him from chasing after Hermia. However, as the plot of the play carries on, the audience was soon swept up into their loving chemistry. The change in fate is actually beautiful to watch.

The casting of Lysander, however, could’ve used a bit more work.

Jayton Newbury played his character as Hermia’s love interest well, and he’s obviously a talented actor. His character was a bit more comedic in this play, constantly trying to urge sexual encounters out of Hermia; unfortunately, the chemistry between the two just simply was not there. 

If anything, the bromance between Demetrius and Lysander had more chemistry than any other relationship Lysander held, which shows up more later in the play.

After the love-square controversy, out of nowhere, a side-show storyline begins. 

Six new characters are introduced including, Quince, Bottom, Flute, Starveling, Snout and Snug. This was the storyline which always set off a storm full of chuckles from the audience. 

These six characters come together to create a tragic comedy play to perform at Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding.

Five of the new characters stand staring at the figure in the middle, when talking about the play they are to perform.

Isaac Hoops/Nevada Sagebrush
The six new characters of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” are invested in the discussion of creating their play.

Bottom, played by Sam Crabtree, was definitely one of the most loved by the crowd. Crabtree faced a big challenge by taking on one of the most influential and comedic roles in the play—one he is able to handle with absolute ease and at his full potential, joke-wise. His ability to constantly keep up his dramatic and controlling persona was perfect, but his skills in applying comedy in all aspects of his role was the best part of all. Bottom is never serious, always somehow embarrassing himself in front of his peers, and yet he has no shame in who he is.

Flute, played by Jake Johnson, is also a hilarious actor. Even though he doesn’t get as many lines or scenes as Bottom, his ability to play the female love-interest in their newly-created play is absolutely hilarious. He even puts on a pretty dress and softens the tone in his voice to get into his character’s role. 

Starveling, played by Bailey Wheeler, Snout, played by Josh Troyer and Snug, played by Maya Wolery, don’t get as many lines as the others, but the little quirks in their characters translate well with the play.

Once the six troublemakers begin the makings of their play, the scene switches to another storyline, where we meet Puck, played by Tully Rosa. Puck is the trusty sidekick of the king of the fairies known as Oberon. 

Oberon, played by James Mardock, was classically casted. Though he does have evil tendencies, he has a kind heart under all his arrogance. Mardock does a great job of bossing Puck around and playing a cunning character that constantly manipulates the storyline.

Puck is another fan-favorite. The young fairy is always doing the dirty work of his master, but somehow he tends to constantly mess up his duties. Rosa does a wonderful job of playing the mischievous fairy and she is able to fully embrace the immature and jester-like character traits that Puck embodies. 

Titania, the queen of the fairies played by Abby Rosen, seems to always be in a fight with her husband Oberon. The two had a wonderful enemies-to-lovers connection that provided a great aroma of chemistry which was exceptionally carried out.

In the next few scenes, Oberon constantly meddles with all of the characters’ fates. He sends Puck to put his wife into a deep sleep, to which she wakes up falling in love with Bottom—who’d randomly been turned into a donkey.

The sexual charisma that Titania has when she chases after Bottom the donkey is like watching a cringey telenovela unfold. The audience did not stop laughing once as Titania pushed her bosom into the Bottom’s face, cuddled with him protectively and even sniffed him like he was a bouquet of roses.

It seems the queen and her donkey had more chemistry than the sappy love-at-first-sight story of Lysander and Hermia.

After Oberon laughs at his mischievous interference against his wife, he sees the young Helena fighting for the attention of Demetrius and decides to help her out.

The king sends Puck to sort out the issues of love for poor Helena—only it’s a Shakespearean play, so did anyone really think it was going to be that easy?

Of course, silly Puck puts the love spell on Lysander and Demetrius, so that now instead of both being in love with Hermia, they both end up in love with Helena.

Watching the scene unfold when Hermia finds out Lysander loves Helena instead has the audience in a fit of roaring laughter. Lysander and Demetrius both hold the girls back before a cat fight begins and their commentary throughout the intense, emotional fight is entirely amusing.

The audience is wiping their tears from hysterically giggling throughout the entire scene, especially at moments when Lysander and Demetrius inch their way subconsciously to Helena and Hermia screams in a fit to get her man back.

Once Puck comes back to fix his mistake on the lovers—almost screwing it up again in the process—the pairs end up being Demetrius and Helena and the originally intended Hermia and Lysander.

Hermia approaches her father and Theseus again, only this time Demetrius doesn’t want to marry Hermia. Egeus is furious and demands they be married, but Demetrius declares his love for Helena and just like that it’s a happy ending.

Theseus gets it right this time, declaring that the couples should stay as they are and demands Egeus does not interfere with their true love.

Hippolyta forgives Theseus’s mistake and soon enough, the wedding is officially back on.

Even Titania and Oberon sort out their differences after Titania wakes up from her goofy love trance with Bottom the donkey.

A time-jump to Theseus and Hippolyta’s wedding happens and the beauty of a happy ending lingers in the air.

The final scene where the three Athen couples come together to watch the performance of the six trouble-makers cannot be topped by any other.

There was not a dry eye in the audience as everyone doubled-over in consuming laughter. The echoes of chuckles were louder than the play itself, as audience members couldn’t seem to control themselves amidst the horrifyingly awful play the six characters put on for the wedding.

It was so bad, it somehow seemed good.

One remarkable scene in the tragic comedy is when Snout plays the wall in the play, forcing him to be half-naked throughout the whole thing. To make matters worse, Flute and Bottom basically nose dive against his front and back parts, whilst he’s wearing a very tight pair of underwear.

Though the play was incredibly scarring to witness, including the never-ending comedic scenes of Bottom’s character’s death, it somehow ended up being a perfect end to the comedic  play.

Rosa does a cute monologue as Puck to finish the play off and the audience stands up to give them a round of applause, still clenching their stomachs from the fits of constant laughter.

A full crowd engages with the characters as they bow after performing one of the most amazing opening nights ever seen at the university.

Who said Shakespeare couldn’t be funny?

Jaedyn Young can be reached at or on Twitter @jaedyn_young3.