A magical “Midsummer Night’s Dream” @ Mac 3

Review by Danny Gaisin
                No pre-arranged tickets; no ‘Reserved -MEDIA’ seat markers; no “ ‘Yea’, the Press is here”; plus two young ladies totally flabbergasted as how to handle a pair of old farts expecting ‘comps’! The evening looked to be a disaster and we had already put our car into the pay parking area. Fortunately, we were rescued and escorted into McMaster’s small theatre to see a staff/student production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is certainly one autumn evening’s DREAM!

Theseus & company introducing Midsummer Night's plot

Theseus & company introducing Midsummer Night’s plot

Director Peter Cockett; his production team and the students have re-created one of Shakespeare’s truly eternal comedies into something, contemporary… educational, investigative, rational and analytic. Mores, relationships, attitudes and prejudices are all stripped down for exposure.  Trans-gendered portrayals are effective and are presented with twists. The sets are creative, novel, fascinatingly effective and exceptionally artistic. Cockett has cast-exeunts and entries oftimes occurring from within the audience giving the viewer a sense of participation. Coupled with the overall effect of sound, projection and light, the result is magical. Presenting the iconic ‘Puck’ as a duo is one of this production’s standouts, Claudia Spadafora & Phillip Krusto’s synchronization and chemistry are thespian perfection.
The two major plot relationships:- Theseus & Hippolyta’s engagement; and the Oberon/Titania negotiation are portrayed by Dan Megaffin and Julie Lane; albeit in role-reversals by scene three. Lane’s projection was a little weak as the Amazon but became forceful and dynamic in her male rendering. Megallin aced both of his readings. The sub-plot affairs of Hermia & Lysander are marvellously interpreted by Nicole Romano who can pratfall with the best of them, and Carissa Kaye who brings just a soupçon of butch to her male representation. The empathetic affection that Helena has for Demetrius is expounded by all six feet of Miles Greenberg in a ridiculous blond wig and virtuous costume. His virginal mien and marvellously paced dialogue- especially with Danny Johnston’s Demetrius, soon have the audience thinking in terms of actual femininity. Johnston is more than adequate but acting opposite the consummate Greenberg’s scene-stealing…he pales.
The always enjoyed play-within-a-play episode by the amateur Athenian artisans is the icing in this Midsummer production. From the producer role of Quince, played by a terrifically overacting Sasha Stevenson to the Bottom role interpreted by Ian Wilush; the thespian sextet is a true ‘hoot’. An immediate evocation of Big Bang’s Sheldon’s notorious senses of superiority and control pervade Wilush’s reading. He interprets Pyramus as a super-hero. His acting counterparts playing the moon; a non-Bert Lahrish– lion, and a separating wall whose interpretation by David Jackson is studiously droll. The intimate moments by Pyramus & Thisbe are mirrored by Jackson with such dramatic facial expressions that verbiage becomes totally redundant. Execution and direction are impeccable. Speaking again about direction: playing Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” pre-curtain is a potently effective addendum.

The local players perform before their major-roles counterparts

The local players perform before their major-roles counterparts

The Puck-duo observes, ‘What fools these mortals be’. Under Cockett; and all those involved in this Theatre & Film Studies workshop…I can only add “Amen to that!” .Methinks one hast an O.A.R. “TOP TEN” contender herewith!
Midsummer Night’s Dream will be staged until Nov. 16th. Call 905-525-9140, or visit the campus ‘COMPASS’ for tickets. Come and enjoy…but leave the kiddies with a babysitter!!!!

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3 comments

  1. Typically, unless contacted specifically by the organization, comps are given out to members of the press AFTER they have contacted the box office and made the group aware of the night they are attending…

    Or would you rather every show give up 2+ seats for you for the entirely of their run in case you decide to show up?

    • Dear ‘Anonymous’

      We were invited by the production’s administration; responded positively and advised them of the particular show we’d be attending!

      Traditionally, Media types ONLY attend performances to which they are formally invited. Such was the case with Midsummer Night’s Dream. We receive more attendance requests than we can possibly handle, so most time do a little triage and pick those events that may not have any other printed criticisms.

      We have certain requisites:- two comp tickets; specified reserved seats marked as such -“PRESS”; and either pre-arranged photographs or a brief (60-90-seconds) photo-op …post-curtain. If these stipulations are too onerous; then don’t bother asking us to attend!

      • My apologies…I was merely taken aback by the lead in to the review. Don’t you think it seems superfluous to describe what occurs before a show, as it had no bearing on the production itself, and in fact reporting your (let’s be honest MINOR) inconvenience could do more damage to the production than the glowing things you wrote afterwards?

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