Opening Night is an indie fever dream best viewed while high on cold meds or around two in the morning, when reason and logic have fled and all that’s left is a sort of mystic melancholy. Set over the course of one night, this film follows a handful of different characters as they attempt to put on a rendition of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. At one point, the ghost of William Shakespeare, who looks like the lovechild of Jack Sparrow and Jesus, appears out of a garbage can holding cupcakes and convinces the weird girl who didn’t make it into the play to drug the entire cast while they laugh about it in the library.
Rife with affected accents, love triangles, and cheap special effects, Opening Night is so far past campy, it’s wonderful. While the feel of the movie and the almost painful student acting is slightly off-putting at first, it’s easy to get used to—and even becomes one of the reasons the film is so great. To be completely honest, when this film ended around two in the morning, I wasn’t sure if it had been real. I thought there was a good chance I had dreamed the entire thing.
Aside from Anthony Rapp, I didn’t recognize any of the cast, which was one of the best parts of this film. All the students were unknowns who hadn’t been in much else, and I’m guessing they ran out of money to hire any more adults who had decent movies under their belt. None of the cast was outstanding, granted, but each of the kids was charismatic in their own way, and I suspect (and hope) we’ll be seeing more of Chasen Bauer as he hits his stride.
If you’re looking for a well-made, well-acted movie with a good storyline, don’t watch this. You’ll be disappointed. But if you’re looking for a way to while away the wee hours of the night, this will suit you much better than bingeing a sitcom. And there’s just something so encouraging and wholesome about watching a movie that was written, directed and produced by the same two people. It’s a different experience.