2111 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103…show closes May 17th, 2015
The pre-show jitter...Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre is one of the most popular theaters in Philadelphia and the night we went, it was packed! The audience flipped through their playbills excitedly reading the actors bios, college students, including my Rutgers crew and I, took selfies in every row and conversations happened in every seat. People wondered: How will this production be different from all the others? What will the actors be like? Where should we eat after? In other words, buzz skipped through the theatre and created more buzz. It was hard not to catch the excitement.
The interesting set…which mostly means the trapezes. In this performance long purple trapezes were used for everything from hiding to sleeping to capturing lovers (the latter being most common during the show). One moment in the play, the mischievous fairy Puck actually climbed up the trapeze, wrapping her legs around it and eventually falling gracefully. Another moment, the fairy queen Titania created a swing with it and pushed Nick Bottom. What was most fascinating was the amount of creative uses that came out of using the trapeze- that fact alone is one of the things that made the production so exciting.
The magic…A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s most magical plays. Lovers are enchanted, humans are turned into donkeys, fairies argue and fight and fight some more. What this production did differently was use amazing lighting to create the illusion of magic or mischief being done. The magical folk would throw and dodge colorful sparks throughout the whole play and their skill as well as the excellent lighting (which helped with the illusion) never ceased to impress me.
Philly Shakespeare Theatre
The fight scenes…If you’ve never seen or read Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, you’ll be delighted to hear that it is one of his sassiest plays. The four lovers in the play who are charmed into falling in love with the wrong person scream at each other, jump on each other, utilize the trapezes to tie each other up and call each other insults like “juggler” and “painted maypole” which probably meant something unspeakable in Shakespeare’s time. These scenes are some of the funniest and the best choreographed in the show. The actors’ reactions were perfect during these scenes.
The balloons...Though I don’t want to give all the secrets of the show away in the hopes that you will venture out to see it yourself, one of the coolest parts of the show was the ending, in which random audience members received a balloon from a cast member! Yours truly was not one of the lucky ones, unfortunately.
Overall, I loved the production! I found it hilarious, creative and would definitely recommend that you go to see it before it closes. I also found the playbill interesting. I love reading about the productions influences and for this one director, Carmen Kahn, talked about how the lighting and the set was based off of the the “colors and sounds of India.” I loved this slant and it was definitely apparent within the play.