Saturday, February 7, 2009
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Last night I went to see 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' at the Botanical Gardens. In 2003 I was in the play so it was interesting to see what they did differently.
Here is a brief blurb in case anyone doesn't know the story. The story starts with Hermia. Hermia is in love with Lysander but her father wants her to marry Demetrius. Meanwhile Hermia's friend, Helena, is in love with Demetrius.
Lysander suggests to Hermia that they escape her father and go into the forest. Hermia tells Helena of her plan and Helena and Demetrius also go into the forest.
Meanwhile, in fairyland, the fairy king and queen, Oberon and Titania, are fighting over a mortal boy who Titania wants to keep. Oberon orders his offsider, the mischievious Puck, to get a flower to put on Titania's eye so that she will fall in love with the next person/animal she sees. He also orders Puck to put the flower on Demetrius so he will love Helena.
And, in the next sub-plot, a group of weird tradesmen are practicing for a play for the Duke's wedding. Puck turns their leader, Bottom, into a donkey/ass and the other tradesmen leave in fright. Titania awakes from her sleep, sees Bottom, and drags him into her bedroom.
That's enough plot for now - I don't want to wreck the ending.
Now - for an analysis. The outstanding feature of this play was the guy who played Oberon (man with blue body paint in the picture). He was confident, had stage presence and spoke clearly. Second in line was the wonderful Puck - the actor was cheeky, earthy and funny.
The energy of the play was exceptional. It also had quite a lot of jokes and music. I liked how the show ended - with a rendition of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' and all the actors dancing like zombies.
I didn't like the fairies costumes. They are pictured - white face masks and black gowns. However, the fairies' acting and cooing was effective.
The opposite went for the mechanicals. They looked wonderful - costuming was great but they were rude rather than funny. The guy who was Bottom did not pull the part off well, which made it hard for the others to be funny.
The lovers were reasonable but not brilliant. The fighting scenes were great but they were not convincingly 'in love'.
Despite all that it was a great night out - the costumes, music and energy made up for what was lacking in the acting and characterisation.
Hope you will enjoy the show!