What Fools These Mortals Be
Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

Shakespeare wrote the words "what fools these mortals be" for the character Puck in a Midsummer Night's Dream. I think it's probably the most often quoted phrase that Shakespeare doth ever created with quill and paper. I never knew what it meant until recently when our group of friends attended a dinner theatre.


We're not a bunch you'd normally see at dinner theatre, unless dinner is pizza and theatre is an old movie. Lisa and I joined her mother Jeanette and our friend Theresa recently at the Eagle's Club in Thief River Falls, Minnesota for a production of Shakespeare‘s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Allison Page is a local director with an ambitious little theatre company called “Big Al‘s Theatre.” Allison and her cast didn’t so much entertain us but rather bade us join them in the wood and under the moon to view “true love”. This true love could not have occurred without generous amounts of backstage manipulation and “fairy dust.“

Midsummer Night's Dream is about young lovers and the games people play to try and find love. Young love blossom's, dies and then somehow wins out despite the meddling of many mortals. The whole time Oberon and his faithful servant Puck strive behind the scenes to connect the star-crossed and divide the love-struck with magical “fairy dust.” The delightful problem is that Puck's aim with the fairy dust is never very straight. Puck causes problems but I must admit the character reminded me of our cat Twitch; trouble-making, careless but quite loveable. I think the whole play illustrated that no matter how people complicate love and despite the games they play, love somehow wins out at day’s end. Shakespeare demands that you listen to his plays. The dialogue is intense and you need to keep up to understand the humor and direction of the story. It was a great production and very funny. You shouldn’t be afraid of a Shakespearean play, it’s just plain English sprinkled with unfamiliar phrases but even these can be understood when taken in context.

I liked the play but enjoyed the deeper story as much. Most of the actors were very young, full of passion and energy. It’s fun to watch a shy teenager find the confidence to make us see both irony and mirth when he talks of love and longing. It take discipline for an actor to stay in character when the spotlight is on someone else. The young actors owned their character and reacted appropriately to dialogue even when they weren’t directly involved. I love to see young people do well and this cast delivered.

I don’t know what credentials I have to review a play. I occasionally review a movie but some of the cast of this play were friends and family so perhaps I am biased. Honestly, I don’t know that giving an objective review is even worth reading. What are words without passion? Certainly not worth reading or watching over a good meal at the local Eagles Club.