Nod off at your own risk in Deering Oaks park for the next few weeks. You might wake up under the spell of the Fenix Theatre Company. The intrepid troupe of local thespians has chosen “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for their 12th annual alfresco production.

After stints on the bandstand and near the wading pool, Fenix has this year staked out a flat piece of ground near the bridge in the center of the park to present their “Dream” in the round. But while the major focus has appropriately been set by director Stacey Koloski within the circle, there’s much also happening around and behind the audience, where actions begun at center stage are carried on in the periphery. The result is a theater experience that encompasses all in the fantastical world of the Shakespeare classic.

The ever-popular comedy tells the story of young people who, seeking to escape official disapproval of their romances or pursue new ones, venture into a forest full of mischievous and sometimes misguided fairies who are engaged in their own family drama. Added to the mix are a cast of bumbling, working-class “mechanicals” who hope to develop a play to be performed for the local nobility.

Seventeen performers take on twenty-one roles in this two-hour production. The Fenix company has populated them all with distinctive actors who, based on the opening night performance, are willing to take their roles to the limit to create an uproarious evening of theater.

Michela Micalizio and Collin Young, as Hermia and Lysander, embody that sort of crazy love that would seek to defy all obstacles. Micalizio is a ball of energy adding a scene-stealing physicality and forceful delivery to her lines. When she goes off to pursue a lost Lysander, she can be seen running all over the park before circling back just in time to hit her next cue.

Young hits Lysander’s fairy-induced change of affections with the requisite sweet and sour notes as he briefly transfers his affections to Emily Grotz’ Helena, who in turn seeks the love of Elliot Nye’s officious Demetrius.

Grotz realizes the touches of melancholy in Shakespeare’s take on the mysteries of love while also hitting comedic highs, particularly during Helena’s hilarious tiff with the easily-goaded Hermia.

Sean Ramey and Karen Ball take on the roles of the fairy royals, engaged in their own dispute and employing the services of a band of talisman-waving underlings. Ball vamps-up her Titania during the famous “romance” with Bottom, who has been turned into an ass. Ramey makes his Oberon the most sinister, if ultimately redeemed, character. The role of the loyal, if unreliable, fairy agent Puck is realized by Mackenzie O’Connor as a tumbling mischief-maker, adding to the production’s general emphasis on physical comedy.

Brittany Burke is a moody Hippolyta and Ian-Meredythe Lindsey is her impatient but ultimately plot-saving spouse Theseus. Elise Voight animatedly directs the play within the play as Quince. Bottom, played as a loveable ham by Kyle Aarons, takes it over as perhaps the clearest thinker of them all.

The costumes fit the unbuttoned, bucolic setting of the play as does a bit of Celtic-flavored pipe and ukulele music directed by Megan Tripaldi, all serving to create a general feeling that strange and wonderful things can happen in the forest, or even a city park.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.