In 2011, The NOLA Project presented an inspired production of Shakespeare’s comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, and the audience followed the action from the pine grove at the garden’s front gates to the field near the Timken Center, which became the forest inhabited by Oberon, Titania and the fairies.
The company revisits that world, and audiences again trek through the garden for “The Henchman: A Shakespeare Story,” written by Michael Aaron Santos, who recently was named the Big Easy Entertainment Awards’ Theater Person of the Year.
In “Midsummer,” Oberon and Titania, the king and queen of the fairies, battle over a “changeling” boy, a mysterious figure whom Titania has raised and Oberon wants as an attendant. The play describes the boy as a prince from India, but he never speaks.
“The Henchman” is the story of the changeling, now named Jacob, 15 years after the events of “Midsummer.”
In the comedic adventure story, it’s revealed that Jacob’s father sent the boy abroad to protect him from his older brother, Esau, who wishes to be king of India. When the father decrees that Jacob is the heir to the throne, the brother begins a search for Jacob, who lives among the fairies while Oberon prepares him to one day return home.
Jacob is torn between the worlds of his birth and that of his friends. There are recurring characters from “Midsummer,” but the story of “The Henchman” stands by itself.
At 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and Sunday, May 8-26, in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, 1 Collins C. Diboll Circle; www.nolaproject.com. Tickets $12-$28.
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