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Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Shakespeare Theatre Company's A Midsummer Night's Dream

Last night I saw A Midsummer Night's Dream in Washington D.C. at The Shakespeare Theatre Company's Sidney Harman Hall.

It was the first time I have seen a show there, and my expectations were high. After all, earlier this year they received the Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre.

I wasn't disappointed.

The show was excellent!

The costumes were fantastic, the set was great (with hanging chandeliers, trap doors, and a floating piano!) and the music perfectly set the mood -- sometimes whimsical, sometimes dark, and always magical.

The actors were top notch, and they brought a lot of energy and wit to the play.

I don't want to single any actor out, since they were all so good, but there were some priceless moments: Pyramus's hilariously gory death, Titania's waking up in the piano and falling in love with Bottom, and Oberon and Puck in the chandelier with the golf club.

And I don't want to give anything away, but I never thought I'd see a Shakespearean mud-fight! Brilliant!

But for me personally, the greatest moment was (no spoiler, don't worry) between Thisbe and the Wall.

The joke is so politically incorrect and so bawdy, that I am convinced that it was how Shakespeare's original actors would have played it. It rang so true. The audience and I died with laughter.

I think the director Ethan McSweeny did a fantastic job of mining the play for comedy, and he hit paydirt over and over again. I especially think that his setting the play in a vaguely 1930's period was a perfect set-up to the Rude Mechanicals as almost Vaudevillian performers. The entire Pyramus and Thisbe performance is a laugh riot.

I highly recommend that you go see this show if you can -- it is extended through January 6th.

I am very eager to see more Shakespeare at the STC -- they are doing Coriolanus and The Winter's Tale in May 2013.