Hart House Theatre's production infuses a fresh take on Shakespeare's comedic romance with an edgier twist of magic and corporeal-focused energy, unlike that of the twinkling, winged fairies from childhood.
As they breeze through one of their woodland scenes, swathed in flowing floor-sweeping skirts of vibrant plum purples and forest greens, the gypsy-like fairies are aided on stage by a grandiose carriage adorned with lanterns and a lavishly draped tapestry.
It is within this shroud of the dream-like realm, that four lovers from Victorian London - having replaced Athens as the original city surrounding the woods - happen upon. Stage manager Monika Dembowy, explains that by contrasting the primness of the lovers’ society with that of the mysterious and wild forest, helps to emphasize two different co-existing worlds, each unknown to the other.
Carly Chamberlain, who plays Helena, remarks “It's fun to go into that fairy-world where it's liberating to take charge." Her character decides to pursue Demetrius, played by Andrew Knowlton.
Knowlton echoes Chamberlain’s sentiment on the playful tone of the production, particularly enjoying the “high-energy" aspect of the play. Knowlton reveals that there will be scenes involving “throwing people around, and jumping on them.”
Neil Silcox, who plays Bottom, is transformed into an ass and relied upon for physical comedic relief. Appearing as a donkey stands funny by its own merits, but despite being the butt of many jokes, Silcox declared that “it is a blast” to be a part of the world within a dream from a midsummer’s night.
Enthusiasm and an exuberant energy buoyed up the team as they honed their scenes late into the evening. A glimpse at the offerings of the magical revelries from A Midsummer Night’s Dream hint at lovers’ escapades, magical mischief, and brawny comedy.
As the days grow shorter and temperatures dip, one can very well escape the dreariness - if only for a couple of hours - and seek solace in the enchantment of a world where donkeys find affection and fairies bewitch hearts.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs November 20 - December 5, 2009 at Hart House Theatre. Tickets are $25, Students and Seniors $15 (Students $10 every Wednesday night). Visit www.harthousetheatre.ca for more information.