May 18th, 2011


Offended By Shadows...

Wotta lotta cock!  Christopher Alden has set MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM  in a creepy SILENT HILL-like school populated by uniformed, sleepwalkers, The programme informs us that a man has returned, on the eve of his wedding, to his old school, where long-forgotten memories of his days there return to him in a dream.
Now, the spookiness of the zombie-ish children in their prison-like school was very effective, but it didn't have a lot to do with DREAM, and quickly segued from hypnotic to soporific. We had squeezy seats in the Dress Circle, this time, and it was hard to get comfortable. Once you did, there was the danger of drifting off. I had to elbow H, who had  begun to snore gently, a couple of times.
A lot  of people left early, although that may have been due to a late start. ('Lysander' was suddenly taken ill, and had to be replaced by his undereheased cover, who did very well..)
The young cast (and stalwart Willard White as Bottom)  were excellent. I was particularly charmed by the lovely plangent countertenor of Iestyn Davies; a very characterful, special sound. Shame about the production.

BTW, I don't know if I ever mentioned it, but I was once an 'apprentice' at the Lake George Opera  Festival, where 'the Alden Twins'  were playing, among other things, Puck. I didn't really know them. They were superior, if nerdy, creatures who hobnobbed only with principals and producers.  Now they're bigshot producers themselves. So it goes.
I 'd had no experience at all, at that point , of backstage work, and as nobody had the time to teach us anything, I did the minimum I could without killing or being killed, and spent a lot of time hiding in the locker rooms, smoking. I became competent  as a stagehand eventually, but that was kind of a glum summer for me.
Generally, I find the work of bros Alden quite interesting, sometimes brilliant, but , in my opinion, the new DREAM is a tedious dud.
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