Four plays — including adaptations of classics — featured in Summer Cabaret’s 41st season

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The 41st season of the Yale Summer Cabaret will kick off on June 4 with “Midsummer,” an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“Midsummer” is one of four plays that will be produced at the Yale Summer Cabaret this season by the theater ensemble Rough Magic, an interdisciplinary team of Yale School of Drama students whose mission is to create a “magical” theatrical experience. The Yale Summer Cabaret offers both new works and old (some re-imagined), which come together, according to Rough Magic, in a process “fueled by joy, collaboration, openhearted curiosity, and deep, investigative play.”

“Midsummer,” which runs through June 21, is adapted by Rachel Carpman and Sara Holdren. Bewildered loves, wily fairies, and theater-loving menials collide in this new adaptation of Shakespeare’s ode to getting lost in the woods. “Midsummer” attempts to navigate the messes “foolish mortals make of our lives, our loves, and the world around us,” according to the Summer Cabaret website. Holdren will direct the production.

The other plays of the season are:

July 9-18 — “love holds a lamp in this little room.” Created and performed by the Rough Magic company and conceived and directed by Leora Morris, “love holds a lamp in this little room” is based on the life and writings of Adah Isaacs Menken. Before Lady Gaga, Marilyn Monroe, or Theda Bara, mixed-race American actress and daredevil Adah Isaacs Menken scandalized Victorian society with her nude horse-riding act and salacious private life. This production features pole-dancing and poetry, cross-dressing and Kabbalah — bringing to the stage myriad contradictions of the sort that made Adah Isaacs Menken the original American “bad girl.”

July 23-Aug. 1 — “The Life and Death of Doctor Faustus,” by Christopher Marlow and adapted by Kee-Yoon Nahm and Andrej Visky. Doctor Faustus is the perpetual graduate student who signs away his soul in exchange for knowledge and experience in Marlowe’s classic play. Director Visky leads the Rough Magic ensemble in a radical new adaption — employing both actors and puppets — to create an epic, fantastical, constantly shifting stage-space.

Aug. 6-15 — “Orlando,” by Virginia Woolf, adapted by Sarah Ruhl. Ruhl’s spare, lyrical adaptation tells the story of the man woman whose one life encompasses many lives, spanning from the Elizabethan era to the modern age. It is both a “heady ramble through history and a witty, tender meditation on the possibility of love in a world where everything, especially gender, is fluid,” according to its description on the Summer Cabaret website.

Tickets to Summer Cabaret performances range from $20 to $28; $14 for students. Four- and eight-ticket season passes are also available. Performances are Tuesday-Sunday. Performance times vary; check the website for specific dates. All performances take place at the Yale Cabaret at 217 Park St.

Appetizers, entrees, and desserts are prepared by chef Anna Belcher. Dinner is served one-and-a-half hours before show time; an hour before the late-night performances at 10 p.m. Reservations are recommended by calling 203-432-1566 or sending email to

For more information about the season, visit the Sumner Cabaret website.

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Steven Padla:, 203-432-1574