Stage Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Toil and Trouble Burlesque

Two nights ago, my wife Lisa and I caught Toil and Trouble Burlesque‘s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We had an absolute blast.

Now if you look up “burlesque,” you may find something like this: Continue reading “Stage Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Toil and Trouble Burlesque”

Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Kingsmen Shakespeare Company

OK, here’s the deal: A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a summer staple. Almost any region that has more than one Shakespeare outlet will have at least one Midsummer to produce during any given year. There’s a reason for it: it’s popular. It’s light. It’s known.

And when we arrived last night at California Lutheran University for night one of the Kinsgmen Shakespeare Festival production, we saw the evidence. Nearly an hour and a half before the start of the play, the place was packed. I would say the crowd was almost twice as large as for Henry V a few weeks back. Remember, that was a very good production, well-reviewed with great word of mouth, a brilliant concept, and a matinee-handsome Henry. On the other hand, last night was opening night, with no raves to bring in a crowd. Midsummer is a popular play.

That, my friends, is a double-edged sword.

Sure, it’s popular. But it also means people have seen this play dozens of times before. The audience knows (or at least thinks they know) what to expect.

So how do you make the play your own? How do you make it fresh?

Continue reading “Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Kingsmen Shakespeare Company”

YOU direct!

I had planned, and really wanted, to discuss man and masculinity today, following up on yesterday’s discussion of the “unsex me here” speech. But alas, time (unlike tomorrows) does not creep in a petty pace for me right now. No, my Bard brethren, I’m a tad pre-occupied…

Greetings from Omaha, Nebraska!

Continue reading “YOU direct!”

Podcast 43: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Wrap-Up, Romeo and Juliet Intro

This week’s podcast ends our discussion of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with a few final words and thoughts, and — more importantly — kicks off our month-long discussion of the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.  Plus we’ll do our usual recap of this week’s blog entries.
Continue reading “Podcast 43: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Wrap-Up, Romeo and Juliet Intro”

A Midsummer, er, Late April Wrap Up

So the month comes to an end… Time to say goodbye to the fairies, the lovers (and the lunatics and poets).  And it’s a fond farewell.  I’m going to miss this play, especially since I find–at least through the Canon we’ve read thus far in the Project–Midsummer to have leapt to the top of my list of faves, both as a comedy AND overall.  It’s musical, lyrical, comical… it’s got woods and lovers and fairies… it’s got escapes, fools who speak wisdom, and a mixture of social strata.  And it has a man with an ass’s head.

c’mon… does it get any better than that?

Continue reading “A Midsummer, er, Late April Wrap Up”

Dream: numbers overall

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

  • 2122 total lines; the second shortest play in the Canon (only The Comedy of Errors is shorter at 1766 lines), much shorter than average play, shorter than average comedy (average play: 2777; average comedy: 2424)
  • At 463 lines, Act Three Scene Two is the longest of its kind in the Canon
  • At 259 lines, Act Four is the shortest of its kind in the Canon
  • Act One: 351 lines; shorter than average (average play: 590, average comedy: 488)
  • Act Two: 424 lines; shorter than average (average play: 568, average comedy: 495)
  • Act Three: 658 lines; longer than average (average play: 576, average comedy: 512)
  • Act Four: 259 lines; shorter than average (average play: 563, average comedy: 460)
  • Act Five: 430 lines; shorter than average (average play: 480, average comedy: 471)
  • 419 lines of prose (19.75% of total lines [as opposed to The Comedy of Errors: 13.31%, Titus Andronicus: 1.39%, The Taming of the Shrew: 20.82%, 1HenryVI: 0.37%, 2HenryVI: 16.64%, 3HenryVI: 0.14%, Richard III: 2.89%, Love’s Labor’s Lost: 35.08%, and The Two Gentlemen of Verona: 26.81%])
  • 923 rhyming lines, by percentage the most of any play thus far (43.5% of total lines [as opposed to Comedy: 20.10%, Titus: 2.42%, Taming: 3.93%, 1HenryVI: 9.79%, 2HenryVI: 3.16%, 3HenryVI: 5.37%, Richard III: 7.55%, LLL: 40.86%, and 2Gents: 35.08%])
  • 9 scenes; less than average (average play: 21; average comedy: 16); tied for fewest in the Canon with LLL and The Tempest
  • only 23 characters (less than average, about average for comedy [average play: 36, average comedy: 22])

Midsummer Numbers Midpoint: True or False Quiz

Using Professor Rodes’ midpoint theory , let’s take a look at A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Now, when I first introduced this theory by Rodes, I summed it up as:

It was his contention that if you counted all the lines in the play, divided it by two, found the exact midpoint of the work, you could find (within twenty lines either way) a speech that perfectly summed up the major theme of the play.

And up until now, I’ve worked on that basis pretty exclusively.  This month, however, I’m going to take a little different approach.  This month, I want to explore the midpoint as a way to crack a major performance crux of the play.
Continue reading “Midsummer Numbers Midpoint: True or False Quiz”

The Bus to Bawdy is Delayed (until next month)

Every month we do this, dipping our toe in the big pool of nudge-nudge-wink-wink that we find in the play of the month.  Sometimes there’s a little (like Richard the Third), sometimes a little more , and sometimes a big whopping dose .

Well, what to say about A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
Continue reading “The Bus to Bawdy is Delayed (until next month)”

Podcast 42: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Casts, Production Concepts, and Wrap-Up

This week’s podcast begins a wrap-up of our month-long discussion of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, including one last DVD review, a possible cast, a production concept, a quick debrief of this week’s video conference, and a recap of this week’s blog entries.

Errata:
5:42 — Text should be “Helena is referred to as old Nedar’s daughter” instead of “Helena is old Nedar’s daughter”
22:58 — Text should be “would be” instead of “should be”
Continue reading “Podcast 42: A Midsummer Night’s Dream Casts, Production Concepts, and Wrap-Up”