Monday, March 29, 2010

"Your play needs no excuse"

Thank god for "Blessed Unrest's" production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." This diamond in the rough restored my faith in off-off Broadway, a faith that wavered rather seriously since we began our project. This company's energetic and crystal-clear presentation of a play packed with fairies, amazon queens, magic elixirs, and shape-changing donkeys made Shakespeare's magical forest thoroughly relevant and captivating from start to finish. Opening with a provocatively naked Hippolyta, the actors deftly navigated the themes of infidelities and inconstancy, while amping up polyamorous innuendos in campy costumes that came off bit by bit as the play went on. There was a surprising and wonderful dance sequence at the end of the first half, and even the silly play within the play was performed so well that the audience guffawed despite the hour. A production like this makes me glad that as we check the upcoming Shakespeare performances in New York, we continue to say, along with Theseus, "I will hear that play." Everyone should.

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