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Monday, December 12, 2011

Theatre Review: A Midsummer Night's Dream


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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Julane Havens

A review by Kate Barry

Entire contents are copyright © 2011 Kate Barry. All rights reserved.


Clay Marshall and Brian Hinds (background), Dawn Schulz, 
Abi Van Andel, Mike Slaton, and Joel Mingo 
in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo by Kelly Moore.
There seems to be some enchantment afoot in the MeX Theater over at The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. Lovers are experiencing mistaken identity, actors are turning into donkeys, and fairies are prancing around without a care. Savage Rose Classical Theater Company has choreographed a passionate production of fantastical tomfoolery with A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

My hat goes off to director Julane Havens for her lyrically infused blocking. In most Shakespearean comedies, scenes placed in wooded pastoral areas refer to themes of fertility. Havens focuses her production on the fertile wood and intricately uses her band of fairies (Victoria Reibel, Lauren Maxwell, Melinda Beck, Sabrina Spaulding and Jennifer Thompson) with Puck (Clay Marshall) as the captain of the mischievous, flirtatious crew. Havens transforms her fairies into sexual beings whose powerful presence dictate the shenanigans that the mortal lovers and fumbling troupe of actors encounter. As the mortal characters run amuck in the woods under the various spells, Havens takes the opportunity to have her fairies constantly present in assorted poses representing trees, rocks and other natural elements. This was a clever way to use the fairy cast as well as save money on set pieces. I wanted to see this concept used more throughout the entire production. As the mechanicals perform their play-within-the-play, Havens brings her fairies back on stage to watch the performance. Except for a comedic bit between Marshall and Tom Schulz, who plays Snug, a stage frightened actor, the choice to have fairies present could have been reconsidered.

 A Midsummer Night’s Dream is always a crowd pleaser. Stand-out performances belong to Tad Chitwood and the rest of his gang of rude Mechanical-turn-actors (Neill Robertson, Jeremy Sapp, Tom Schultz, Hank Paradis). I was constantly giggling at each and every single one of these idiosyncratic weirdoes. Hallie Kirk Dizdarevic and Brian Hinds provide strong performances as the fairy Queen and King. Abi Van Andel, Joel Mingo, Dawn Schulz and Mike Slaton are the squabbling lovers who find themselves lost in the woods, victims of Puck’s trickery. This quartet of actors’ vivacious energy pulsates with youthful folly, providing a sturdy foundation for the rest of the action.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Savage Rose Classical Theater Company
December 9, 12, 15, 17, 18
The MeX Theater at The Kentucky Center for the Arts
501 W. Main St.
Louisville, KY 40202

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