To quote Shakespeare, Helena makes a heaven of hell. Martha Plimpton usually delivers (see The Coast of Utopia), so yes, I'll follow her, to "die upon the hand I love so well." Of course, there is no hell to be found in Daniel Sullivan's direction of A Midsummer Night's Dream, only magic. The First Fairy (Chelsea Bacon) does acrobatic burlesque with her tongue and body as she swings from branch to branch, easily purring her text, and Laila Robin's Titania plays footsie both with her words and her stockinged legs. Puck (Jon Michael Hill) is a magician who does slight of hand as much with his own spry self as with his multicolored cloths, and the faeries, creepy children straight out of Tim Burton's "innocence," give way to bucolic ditties in Oberon's (Keith David) deep dulcet tones. One never thinks "poor Bottom" in the light of such theatrical antics, much less Jay O. Sanders, who "brays" that role to great effect, nor does Sullivan dwell on the wild, unspoken violence: when it boils over, it is in stylized and greatly comic choreography, as Demetrius, Lysander, Helena, and Hermia all fly at one another in the name of love. The energy that Sullivan's achieved in this production is the true fairy dust that gives this Dream wings: reason and love, it's true, keep little company together.
Friday, September 07, 2007