Saturday, May 31, 2014

Review of Strangeloop Theatre's A Midsummer Night's Dream at The Side Project

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called A Midsummer Night's Dream. It was directed by Holly Robison and written by William Shakespeare. This Midsummer Night's Dream was set in the 1940s and it was in a very small space. It was also in two rooms and it was sort of in promenade style. The space was too small for the audience and actors to roam freely, but you were in different spaces and you were not in seats but around the actors on the floor or on benches. I thought that all of the actors were good; I wasn't disappointed by any of them. How you interacted with everyone and how you felt like you were in different places when you moved from the castle to the forest made this play delightful.

I liked the way they changed one of the lovers' personalities. That lover would be Helena (Mary-Kate Arnold). She was different than in other Midsummer Night's Dreams that I have seen. Helena was a drunk. It was a good choice because it shows that she really loves Demetrius (Tim Larson) because she is so upset that he doesn't love her that she becomes a drunk. And it shows that she feels she is not a good person; she always says to Hermia (Letitia Guillaud), "you are so amazing and beautiful and I am not like you. I wish I was" and stuff like that. That seems like a drunk thing to do. It makes it sadder and funnier. It is sad because she is depressed but it is funny because you have this drunk girl walking around the stage saying Shakespearean language in high heels. It is just a hilariously great combination.

I thought that everything about the fairies was very interesting. Like I thought it was interesting that the fairies guided you basically to the theater to start the part in the woods. I thought that all the fairies' costumes (By Carrie Campana) were like modern fairies and not like Shakespearean. I liked that because it added to how it was supposed to be set in the future from when it was written. I do think Puck's (Julia Rigby) costume could have been a little bit more abstract and crazy. It was very normal. I really liked Titania's (Caitlin Jackson) costume because it really brought out the modernism and beauty of this character. I thought that Peaseblossom (Naomi Lindh) and Cobweb (Miona Lee) were hilarious. I loved how they were like, "Seriously? Bottom (Michael Houghton Wagman) is here?" in a very ticked-off manner.

I thought that the players were hilarious. The ending show was funny because it was just so horrible. I loved the dying scenes with Bottom as Pyramus and Flute (Naomi Lindh) as Thisbe. I thought it was funny because all the actors were great at being bad. When Pyramus stabbed himself, it was so unconvincing that it was hilarious. It was so bad that it was good. I also loved how Quince (Maria Burnham) was doing movements like, "Now leave!" and mouthing it. I thought it was cool when the people on stage would ask you to come up and dance and you got to dance with them. That made you feel like you were actually in the show more and more as the show went on. I thought it was really cool how Puck seemed to be in disguise as the actor who played Moonshine. After everyone had gone to bed he stayed and took off his hat and became Puck and did the ending speech. I thought that was a great way to end, like "That's who it has been all along!"

People who would like this show are people who like big fairy reveals, hilariously bad plays about Pyramus and Thisbe, and drunk Helenas. I'm sorry that I did not get to see this show before the day before closing; I think they should do a remount! It is the first thing I have seen by this theater company and I would definitely go back. I was really impressed.

Photos: Austin D. Oie

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