November 13 — December 23
On the Main Stage

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Penny Metropulos
Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time

As the royals Theseus and Hippolyta prepare to marry, four young lovers from their Athenian kingdom flee to the forest in the wake of parental disapproval. But in the woodland, these lovers’ lives are complicated upon crossing paths with feuding faerie royalty. As Oberon and Titania bicker over a changeling child, the mischievous Puck and his sprightly accomplices use herbal spells to hilariously complicate the love-mad quartet’s forest idyll.

When a group of local rustics rehearsing a play for the Athens wedding also seek the quiet of the forest, the spells and confusions wrought seem unlikely to ever sort themselves out. But this is William Shakespeare at his most magical and most imaginative, and with a little enchantment, as Puck says “all is mended.”

Performance times:
Tuesday - Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m
Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
Thursday matinees at noon

A full list of performances and dates will appear when you enter the ticketing section of the website.

View the cast and creative team bios.

View the playbill for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Learn more about accessibility options at PCS.

Portland Center Stage’s production is part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, a national program of the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest.

Reviews and Features

Holly Johnson | The Oregonian [Review 21 Nov 2012]

In Shakespeare’s best-loved comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” opposites seek balance as a flurry of human and supernatural activity unfolds in an Athenian forest. Logic and nonsense, masculine and feminine, fantasy and reality, intellect and instinct, even tall and short long to be united. And, of course, light and dark are pitted against each other, as, in Portland Center Stage’s powerful production, a giant moon rises upstage against a shadowy night, casting its age-old spell. In this dappled world of waking and dreaming, anything is possible.

Director Penny Metropulos gives us so much to like in this rich offering that it seems niggling to point out an unsettling bit. In the first scene between the upper-crust characters, Theseus and Hippolyta (Richard Baird and Dana Green, who also play fairy royalty Oberon and Titania), some awkward business works against the language. But after that, the evening sparkles with perfection.

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Bob Hicks | Oregon Arts Watch [Review 21 Nov 2012]

Like a music lover waiting eagerly for a certain shift of cadence in a well-known symphony, I always look forward to that moment in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” when Titania, queen of the fairies, wakes from her drug-induced slumber and first sets eyes on donkey-headed Bottom. O revelation! O feckless bliss! Her world turns!

This is a moment of high comedy, the mirror-opposite of the illusion-shattering moment when the little boy pipes up and breaks the spell in “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” and actors generally milk it for all it’s worth. It’s the moment when the illusion is born, when sense becomes nonsense and any attachment to reality (which is already tenuous, considering that we’ve been frolicking in the forest of the faeries) disappears. Since the audience understands this but neither Titania nor Bottom does, the joke rises and bubbles and takes off.

Yet as funny as it is, the moment also holds a seed of sadness: we’re watching ourselves, or our theatrical stand-ins, in our most addled and ill-advised of states. This moment of faux falling in love, it seems to me, is a quintessential artistic illustration of our capacity for self-deception. We can call it “magic,” and in the play it is, but it strikes me that magic, like hypnotism, won’t work if the capacity for deception, or betrayal, or wickedness, or call it what you will, isn’t already lurking somewhere deep inside, waiting to be awakened. Something within Titania finds itself attracted to this utter ass of a mortal man, and though that something’s usually deeply and safely buried, it’s there nonetheless. The same holds true for the young lovers who hop from infatuation to infatuation under the spell of the drug: Hermia and Helena and Lysander and Demetrius are a mixup of affections and attractions (the boys, predictably, more so than the girls, who seem to know what and who they want), or the magic wouldn’t work. True love is never entirely true. Selfishness and the illusion of adventure persist. We are attracted to, and also repelled by, the idea of the Other.

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Portland Center Stage 25th Anniversary 15-second spot View on Vimeo »

Art and photos for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. View on Flickr »

Resource Guide

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Production blog

PCS Props Wizardry: Insect Puppets in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

PCS Props Wizardry: Insect Puppets in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

19 December 2012 & Posted by Kinsley Suer

If you’ve seen our production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, you might have felt like you experienced a little bit of theatrical magic. But the production crew has to rely on more than pixie dust to bring the fairy world of Titania and Oberon to life. Among other things, the props team was tasked with creating custom insect puppets of colorful butterflies and spiders to complement the atmosphere of the enchanted forest. Check out the transformation!


Interpreting The Bard

03 December 2012 & Posted by KatieO

Dot Hearn, Portland Center Stage’s ASL Coordinator,  sheds some light on interpreting The Bard. Sign language interpreters work between two languages: a spoken language and a signed language. That is an obvious statement, yes. But the process becomes more complicated with the addition of foreign words or phrases, or in the case of plays, longer passages of dialogue between characters in a third language.


The Trickster

29 November 2012 & Posted by KellyC

Puck, the mischievous and terribly clever character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is a prime example of a literary archetype known as The Trickster. Through deceptive—yet hilarious—behavior, Puck’s actions catalyze Shakespeare’s witty story, causing a whirlwind of plot chaos. Similar to Puck, many other famous tricksters have played key roles in numerous stories, from Greek mythology to modern sitcoms. The list is long, but here are a handful of popular pranksters!


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