Prior to the kind invitation of Razz and Eleanor, I had minimum knowledge of Midsummer’s Night Dream. While it might be fair to say that my review lack a touch of credibility, at the same time, it allow me to experience with a good spirit of openness.
Allow me to walk you through my dream, one facet of the dream.
Standing at the mouth of the impending event, I was enchanted by the fiery duo situated across the road with their defiant circus acts. Almost immediately, I was induced into a surreal state of mind, fire has that bilateral power to ignite and also, to douse.
Proceeding after the entry ritual, I was overwhelmed by intricate blood red threads punctuating the ceiling, hundreds of them dangling overhead, this intensified the feeling of illusory. We were approached by Peter Quince, portrayed by a tall promising lad who was also the narrator of the play. The induction began with his silvery yet at times modulated voice. We were forewarned to be courageous, to break off from our friends and venture alone, as we do in repose. “Luck favours the brave”
Streaming along the dark passage, I caught a glimpse of the Queen’s room. Labyrinthine compound of time stained relics. With Quince’s gesticulation, we were ushered onto the upper deck. The décor reeked of obsolete times with the exception of random arcade machines. Granted that this is a modern interpretation, there is hardly room for gaming cabinets to be infused with Shakespeare’s work. Concealment with a black cloth would do the trick.
It would seem that alcohol was the chosen fuel to keep the characters in motion. Perhaps the cast needed the intoxication to bring out the essence of characters. In spite of that, there were great efforts to isolate each audience with random characters beckoning an innocent party and luring him/her away from the herd.
According to one participant, “She dragged me from here down the stairs, telling me a story, it was fun but intense” Dan shared his personal experience with Puck where he also commented on her confident and put-together acting skills. I was no exception as Quince escorted me downstairs and lavished details of the afterlife. In my attempt to “elicit a character dissociation”, I questioned if he was the director of the play. Despite looking a tad confused, he didn’t break character and resuscitated Peter Quince with more vigour. Credits to his sheer devotion and the cast for their endeavour to instill a boundless experience for the selected outliers.
Entering the lair underneath, through a flight of twilight-seeped stairs, another mystical landscape takes life. Three exquisite dancers poised with graceful gait and apt lighting lent an air of serendipity. A comforting and assuring sight to behold amongst the madness encased upstairs.
In awakening, there are flaws that you come to realise. The explosion of as many as 5 scenes happening simultaneously often delivers a rapture for some but to many, it introduces only distractions and noises. Perhaps this could be said to be one of the virtues of the play. Being in a dream where you have no control of any imminent events and being helpless to any order or stability. The notion of anything can happen could be felt and experienced in the play. Like David C. Funder said, “Great strengths are usually great weakness, and often the opposite is true as well.”
All in all, the dream is a very remarkable and innovative masterpiece by Dearfever. Receiving praises from several individuals, many were surprised by the approach taken while one of the Directors I spoke to, mentioned that despite being unable to gauge the audiences’ preferences, the turn out was higher than expected. By shattering the stage and introducing the play with a confrontational approach, one is entrenched between the layers of history intermingling with modern times. If you are a privileged one to be able to enter the dream, ditch the herd mentality and engage in it. The freedom to interact at your level of desire, you will never know the outcome. Like a dream, you will never know.
Photos by: Bart Wozniak www.facebook.com/bwozniakphotography
Review by: Beverly Wee
With special thanks to Lu Jie and Nichola Koh