The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre’s production of A Midsummer Nights Dream was, to say the least, a very acrobatic performance. According to the program, Mrs. Puck actually attended circus school for the performance. She provided some much needed comic relief. In a small theatre, the air was very professional. The play as a whole was a success.
Puck was not the only star in that midsummer sky.
Oberon/Theseus – Titania/Hippolita
He and Titania made some very impressive rings around the stage, fighting with fairy magic. There were two circus curtains in the back of the stage. Titania at one point curled up in one of them as if it was a cocoon. The two were very effective together because they seemed to fight playfully, then look lovingly. There was real chemistry. But they had faults like projection at times, and often turning away from the audience so not to get as much out of their lines (that may be the director’s fault though).
They made the transaction from love-hate to hate-love smoothly. Over the course of the play, they grew closer and more into-role. They didn’t grow so much physically closer, as they did facial expressions, even from across the stage. Though the duo was not as strong-fundamentally (as in the basics: projection, enunciation) as their counter-parts, together they were an emblem of love because they were human.
By far the most fundamentally sure actors there. Not like robots, but like manikins. Built and taught to be like someone, but not really filling their slot. I did not believe they were who they said they were. Not as passionate. Less monotonic in voice as in spirit. They relied deeply upon basic fundamentals (enunciation, projection, e.g.).
They were the funny side. Literally. If one of them wasn’t making the audience role with laughter, the other one was. But Puck wasn’t Puck. Puck is known for causing mischief. This Puck was more taunting, not causing it. She spent all her time gloating. But she had a very cool thing with balloons. If someone was supposed to fall asleep or go into another state of mind, the little fairy would creep up and tap him or her on the head, and there it would go, straight off into a magical coma. But while she under-did it, Bottom overdid it. He was like Barney! A huge, funny half animal. He made too much of the comedy and too little of the actual character; a wannabe actor.