27th July

This week's performance was a play, Julie Taymor’s 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream', a play on film. But unlike National Theatre screenings this one was from NYC, and showed the audience, and the last act was a play within a play, performed by a theatre troup, 'The Mechanicals' who are all labourers. 

Set upon a stage that appeared to be tiled with well, rectangular black tiles with white outlines paired with huge white flowing sheets (fabric) and projects, along with simple props created an effective, efficient and dramatic set. A dollhouse played the part of the Duke's house, poles held by faeries in black/the chorus on the black stage created an ominous forest that moved with the characters, and lastly white flowing sheets set the ethereal scenes of the faerie queen's rooms. 

The chorus played by children, ballerinas played the faeries, subjects of the faerie queen Titania, dressed as bark trees they gather to hear Punk as mischievous narrator. Later they're held up by stage hands dressed in black, and create movements as if they were flying or hovering through the air. Punk more impressively drops into the scene through aerial wires himself. The children created the moving forest and later at the Duke's house played guests. 

It was a very good play/play on screen which we enjoyed. Sometimes screen is better than live, as there's the camera which zooms in on faces, portraying more emotion that if you sat in the back row. Also everything appears to the closer. But this overall, the concept on stage on screen is only good when designed that way, to be viewed on screen. 

Hermia has a lisp. That was annoying!

Fun Fact: Punk is portrayed by Kathryn Hunter, Mrs. Arabella Figg (Harry Potter!). 

Midsummer's a classic and one of Shakespeare's most popular works, a must see, though if you haven't read at it may be a bit confusing, with a few too many characters the first time around. 

Here's what you need to know:
- There are three groups: The Athenians (the civilians who live in Athens), The Fairies (who live in the woods), and, The Mechanicals (labourers, an ameture theatre group).
- Hence there are three intertwining plots

1. The Fairies - The king is a bit of an a** and tricks the queen into giving him something/one she didn't want to. To get to do this he puts a spell on her of some sort, the juices of a flower. She awakes to fall in love with the first thing she sees, this is Nick Bottom, who has the head of a donkey thanks to Punk.

Beautiful styling, the contrast between the king and queen.

Oberon's voice was familiar so I looked up where I might have seen him before! The short lived series of 'Selfie' Modern day Eliza Dolittle in NYC.

2. The Athenians - Hermia loves Lysander, but is engaged to Demetrius. Her friend, Helena loves Demetrius, but D loves L. The faerie king Oberon tells Puck to put a spell on Demetrius to make him fall in love with Helena. But Punk accidentally puts it on Lysander! So now everyone loves Helena, and no one loves Hermia. A sexy pillow fight in 50s lingerie follows. It's also fan service, in this adaptation.

No I couldn't find a picture of them fully clothed.

3. The Mechanicals - They decided to practice in the woods, so there'd be no competing theatre troupes sneaking around. Nick Bottom gets his head turned into a donkey head. He sings, awakening Titania who falls for him. All the characters really carried their own weight here with everyone having a unique role, no merges. We loved Snout, with his preacher like lines. 

Nick Bottom (Max) is a New Yawk working stiff who’s gotta be at least part Italian. Francisco Flute (Zachary Infante) is a young Latino whose heavily-accented English is played for charm, Snout (Jacob Ming-Trent) is a burly African-American who breaks into Baptist-preacher cadences in his big moment, and Peter Quince (Joe Grifasi) has kind of a Woody Allen vibe going for him. Snug (Brendan Averett) and Starveling (William Youmans) are distinguished by other traits (which I guess tells you they’re white): the former is a gentle giant, as simple as he is huge, while the latter is played as sitcom-style gay. [Is it still okay to laugh at that? He’s very funny.] - Max 

Have you seen or read 'A Midsummer's Night Dream'? 
What is your favourite work from The Bard?

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