TISCH MILLS, Wis. (WFRV) – The personality of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” presented by The Forst Inn Arts Collective is …

Imaginative.

Playful.

Immersive.

Comical.

Romance driven.

Individual.

A bit ragtag.

Frenetic at times.

High-spirited – which is a pun. The play is dominated by make believe hocus pocus with spirits and the supernatural.

Expert director Michael Sheeks’ bold brush strokes spill off the canvas of The Forst Inn’s intimate stage onto the aisles of the cozy theater. This edition of Shakespeare-on-a-budget thrives on his players being game for adventure with the out-there characters. Some of the players are especially keen actors.

The “show” has music of its own that is part of immediately taking the audience to an otherworld with gliding, dancing fairies in fanciful make-up and gossamer-type costumes. Reality is being checked at the door, so to speak.

In this play, William Shakespeare is absorbed in telling multiple stories. This mansion has multiple rooms of different personalities – as The Forst Inn does, too.

Elizabeth Szyman as Puck and Ross Dippel as Theseus. (Tessa Komorowski Jindra)

Some key characters are portrayed by the same actor. Ross Dippel is particularly forceful as the dynamic Theseus and Oberon in dealings of the dualities of Hippolyta and Titania enacted by Rachel Ziolkowski.

Ross Dippel’s potent voice and forceful way with words and creating a commanding personality are among the distinguishing features of this production. Also:

Kevin J. Sievert as the vainglorious actor Nick Bottom who is turned into a donkey that is loved rapturously by Titania. The performance is one of comic expression and physicality done to a T.

Also, Ian Wisneski and Sean Stalvey in the topsy turvy, blind love for the same woman, Helena (Isabella Dippel), while rejecting Hermia (Aubrey Duncan). Energy and vocal intensity burst from Ian Wisneski and Sean Stalvey as the characters battle with wild and woolly feverishness.

Also, Elizabeth Szyman as the bungling fairy Puck, scampering to and fro trying to get magical love matches in order.

Also, Corey McElroy as Peter Quince, the leader of the motley crew of actors trying to piece together a play-within-a-play with a kind of bailing wire with a mind of its own.

It seems William Shakespeare’s plotting with imaginary characters is of unruly bailing wire, too. It springs all over the place. And yet, it all says this quotable quote from the play: “The course of true love never did run smooth.”

The proximity of the players to the audience lures the mind into a cosmic, colorful, comical universe of a company loving what it’s doing.

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Running time: Two hours, 48 minutes

Remaining performances: 7:30 p.m. July 22-23, 28-30; 2 p.m. July 31

Info: forstinn.org.

Creative: Playwright – William Shakespeare; director, technical design – Michael Sheeks; fight/movement direction – Greg Pragel; original music – Joey O’Connor; costumes – Claran LaViolette; tech crew – Phoenix McElroy; photography – Tessa Komorowski Jindra

Cast:

Mustardseed – Em Schaller

Moth – Megan Schauer

Cobweb – Tammy Lynn Verbrick

Peaseblossom – Jacquelyn Welsh

Theseus and Oberon – Ross Dippel

Hippolyta and Titania – Rachel Ziolkowski

Egeus – Zach Lulloff (Michael Sheeks 7.16)

Hermia – Aubrey Duncan

Demetrius – Ian Wisneski

Lysander – Sean Stalvey

Helena – Isabella Dippel

Philostrate – Brittney Simmer

Peter Quince – Corey McElroy

Nick Bottom – Kevin J Sievert

Snug – Jessica Iannitello

Frances Flute – Michael Schauer

Tom Snout – Shannon Paige

Robin Starveling – Teresa Iannitello

Puck – Elizabeth Szyman

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NEXT: “Anatomy of Gray” by Jim Leonard Jr., Aug. 12-14, 19-20, 25, 28.

THE VENUE: The historic Forst Inn is located at the corner of Kewaunee County roads B and BB in Tisch Mills. The building dates to 1868, with assorted lives over the years. For a notable period – 1990 into the 2000s – the place was popular for productions of Little Sandwich Theatre, which Manitowoc attorney Ron Kaminski (deceased 2018) nurtured with a caring hand as artistic director/performer/do-all for a wide array of productions. The present venture is of that spirit. The stage is wide and narrow. The space is intimate. Seating is at small tables on two levels in a slight arc in front of the slightly raised stage. To the audience’s rear is the stage director’s space, with light and sound controls. The space is essentially a black box in theater style in the front – with additions: two chandeliers above the audience, a street lamp the seating area and the ambiance of 1920s style elements to the rear in a service area.  A seating/serving area is in the middle of the building, along with a ticketing counter. The bar area out front includes the bar, table seating, more 1920s ambiance and a passage to an art gallery (rotating artists) that is now part of the offerings of The Forst Inn Arts Collective overseen by Michael Sheeks, who also teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus in Manitowoc.