McSweeny, director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s run of the Bard’s comedic masterpiece, is proud of his roots. (Courtsey McSweeny)
Is William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” a political drama hiding within a comedy-romance?
Perhaps it’s a side of the play that’s ripe for exploration, particularly by a director who’s a true-blue D.C. native.
Ethan McSweeny, director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s run of the Bard’s comedic masterpiece, is proud of his roots.
“I was born in Georgetown University Hospital. I’m a native, native. Wait, check this out,” McSweeny tells HOH, reaching into his wallet and brandishing his D.C. license. “Here’s my D.C. driver’s license. I’m the real thing.”
McSweeny’s political acumen — the St. Albans-educated native says he thought he was going to be a Senate staffer-type policy wonk before he eventually got distracted by theater — at least partially explains how he unpacked the power struggle at the heart of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” currently playing at the Shakespeare Theatre Company through Jan. 6.
The play depicts the battle between King of the Faeries Oberon (Tim Campbell) and Queen of the Faeries Titania (Sara Topham) and how their subjects are affected, with the action taking place within a broken-down yet grandly intimidating theater.
For close observers of the political system, this struggle between two centers of power will feel familiar, particularly with the Capitol having just played host to such grand conflict over the fiscal cliff.