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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Tempest forces Sunday performance of ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ inside the Pavilion

Aug. 8, 2021 Updated Mon., Aug. 9, 2021 at 11:20 a.m.

A small tempest might have chased the show inside, but theatergoers still got to watch a classic comedy for free on a midsummer afternoon Sunday.

The Spokane Shakespeare Society, performing its first production during its inaugural season, staged William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Pavilion in Riverfront Park while gray skies threatened and thunder intermittently boomed overhead.

Sunday’s show was the third performance. The society will enact the play another five times on Aug. 20, 22, 26, 27 and 29. Sunday shows begin at 2 p.m., and all other shows start at 6:30 p.m.

Attendees Sunday didn’t seem to mind moving indoors to watch the performance.

“I’m just glad they didn’t cancel it,” Caryn Akins said.

Some were simply grateful to be able to watch a show at all after more than a year of canceled plays and community events.

“It’s wonderful to have things happening again,” Lynnette Lawrence said.

Roughly 100 people, mainly a mixture of older folks and families with young kids, came to the Pavilion to watch the play, an especially impressive showing given some might have been scared off by the weather.

A Shakespeare show put on by local performers simply wasn’t worth passing up though, some said.

“It’s a cool thing to have Shakespeare in the park in Spokane,” Bob Lawrence said.

This version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” directed by Amanda Cantrell and Jamie Suter, opted for modern visuals instead of trying to mimic the costumes Renaissance performers would have worn hundreds of years ago.

“Imagine a wedding at a country club, with festival fairies lurking in the woods and a Caddy Shack-esque troupe of actors here to entertain,” the program said of the play’s setting.

The indoor version of the play featured a minimalist set, backdropped in black.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is one of Shakespeare’s more comprehensible plays and one of the bard’s funniest.

The Nick Bottom character, whose head is hilariously transformed into that of a donkey is one of the most memorable in all of Shakespeare. Steven Scheindmiller’s loud and energetic performance as the ever-popular Bottom stood out.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream was a great pick for the Spokane Shakespeare Society’s first show, Lynnette Lawrence said.

“‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is a fun one,” she said. “This one I get.”

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