Midsommer Flight’s returning fare for the holidays is perhaps the most delightful Shakespeare I’ve been privy to, made only more magical by the panoramic walk up through the Lincoln Park Zoo lights and the oversized winter decorations hanging above the oversized fauna under the Conservatory’s oversized glass domes. Talk about a shift in reality! Welcome to Illyria, boys and girls. It’s TWELFTH NIGHT. Or as known in Western Christian theology — the Day of Epiphany. Or by its alternative title given by the Bard himself — “What You Will.”
RUDOLPH THE RED-HOSED REINDEER takes place on a cramped yet colorful stage, decorated with the appropriate amount of Christmas kitsch, and begins with Santa Claus (Michael Hampton) deciding to run for President of the North Pole. His campaign is enormously unpopular and offensive, he wins on a technicality, and he’s an obvious parody of a certain Hairy Tangerine in the White House, complete with his own reindeer version of Kellyanne Conway. I understand, of course, that this twenty-year-old show pokes fun at whatever political era it’s being performed in. The problem, however, is that comedy involving our president’s childish, horrifying, and legitimately dangerous antics feels incredibly empty nowadays. This is partly because this administration parodies itself, and partly because every time somebody mentions our president’s name in this country, he gets a massive erection.