Actors' Theatre of Columbus will close the season with "A Midsummer Night's Dream," a favorite of the troupe and local audience.

"It's a beautiful mixture of comedy, romance and magic," said Philip J. Hickman, artistic director for Actors' Theatre.

It also is the first play the company performed in 1982 in Schiller Park.

"We've performed it pretty frequently in the park because we have sort of special relationship with the play," Hickman said. "It's probably the one we've performed the most. But it's one of the perpetually popular plays we've performed. We like to revisit it frequently, every six or seven years."

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" will open at 8 p.m. Aug. 9 and be performed Thursdays through Sundays through Sept. 2. All shows are free and open to the public.

Hickman said Shakespeare's tale centers on a group of young people in Athens: Demetrius and Lysander, two young men, and Hermia and Helena, two young women.

Demetrius is in love with Hermia, but Hermia is forced by her father to marry Lysander. The latter two decide to escape from the city, with Demetrius and Helena, who was jilted by Demetrius but still loves him, following.

They find themselves deep in the woods surrounded by fairies who, even despite some colossal blunders, fix the mixed-up relationships and end up with two happy couples.

"People love (the play) in part because it can be imagined in so many different ways and particularly because you spend so much time with the fairies in their realm," Hickman said.

Jennifer Feather Youngblood, who's directing the play for the first time, said the play has been redone countless times in the worldwide theater and on the silver screen.

"So, the trick is to make it interesting for the people who have seen it a million times," Youngblood said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

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