Apr

28

A Drizzly Dream

Written by

Cast portait

On Thursday, Savvy Shakespearean Alex Taylor braved the elements to see KCST’s annual outdoor spring show. This year, the production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream made the evening enjoyable despite the chill. 

KCST’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while not without its faults, was definitely worth braving the drizzle and the cold. The classic Shakespearean comedy was effervescent and full of life, despite the unfortunate weather conditions. Director Brian LaPerche CC’12 deserves some sort of award for pulling this upwards of 70 members, two and a half hour piece together. The KCST spring production takes place outside and accepts everyone who auditions. These two potential logistical nightmares were handled well by LaPerche. It was clear that every location was painstakingly chosen for each scene for a reason. Low Library was a perfect backdrop for the Athenian court, and the trees and fields around Uris helped create the mystical, fairy populated forest, and the transitions between scenes, led by the actors, were smooth. Blocking group scenes, especially for a cast of this size, is no small feat. I was impressed by the fact that through both clever blocking and actor commitment, the group scenes never seemed dead or obligatory. The production team shone as well. The lighting desig,n by Lila Neiswanger CC’12, created beautiful shadows and patterns that improved the overall experience, in addition to well designed costumes by Liz Watson and Emily Putscher, BC’ 12 and BC’15 respectively, that were accented by terrific make up by Isabella Serrani. Choreography by Elizabeth Power CC’13 and music direction by Matt Star CC’12 were also key elements in the creation of this vision. LaPerche and his production team obviously worked incredibly hard on this production, and it showed.

As far as the acting was concerned, I found it to be mostly well done. It was clear from the beginning that there would be concern about the actors being heard by the audience, since the production took place outside, and with no microphones. I commend the actors for a job well done in this regard, as I could almost always hear them. However, there were several occasions where I found the actors to simply be shouting in order to make themselves heard, and not resonating in the space, which sacrificed some of the beauty and intricacy of Shakespeare’s language for volume. There were several actors who resonated beautifully, two examples being Elizabeth Kipp-Giusti CC’12 as Helena and Daniel O’Neill CC’13 as Oberon, the fairy king. Apart from this technical note, I felt that the three different groups of characters, the Athenians, the fairies, and the mechanicals, had a different style of acting that helped keep the piece alive. While I caught them shouting the most, the Athenian lovers, Helena, Lysander (Thomas Kapusta CC’12), Hermia (Samantha Grecco BC’12), and Demetrius (Alex Dabertin CC’15) had great chemistry as a group, and did a good job of living in the moment as they fell in and out of love with each other.

Much of the comedy of A Midsummer Night’s Dream comes from the “rude mechanicals”, a group of craftsmen putting on a play, and this group did not disappoint. They were led by Gerard Ramm CC’13 as Bottom, whose comedic stage presence was infectious, and fed off of by the other actors, so much so that, when Ramm’s character left the mechanicals, they seemed a little less lively and even flat. That said, their performance of Pyramus and Thisbe at the end of the play was comedic gold.

I loved LaPerche’s interpretation of the fairies. The bad ass, powerful vibe LaPerche was going for was helped by absolutely stellar casting. O’Neill, Rachel Chavez CC’14 as Titania the fairy queen and Gabrielle Beans CC’14 as Puck all had incredible commanding stage presences, so much so that my eye was drawn to them whenever they were on stage. Their entourage, the fairies and satyrs that made up the ensemble, were well utilized as audience guides and kept group scenes lively, but in moments where they were not actually on stage, and just sitting or standing among the audience members, I honestly found them to be distracting. Granted, Oberon and Titania’s followers are supposed to be mischievous troublemakers, but constantly hearing snickers and whispers of “Lysander! Demetrius!” and so on, took away from some of the stellar acting going on. It almost felt as if LaPerche was worried about the piece becoming tedious, and therefore used the ensemble in an effort to keep scenes alive and interesting. It would have been perfect had it been toned down a little.

Overall, KCST’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was an enjoyable night of Shakespeare. Everyone involved deserves a round of applause, for this was by no means an easy task to accomplish. It was, of course, impossible to do something of this magnitude without problems, but what was accomplished was very well done, and very admirable. I left impressed, and I plan to see more of KCST’s work in the future. Maybe I’ll even audition.

The final show of A Midsummer Night’s Dream begins tonight at 8pm at the sundial.

Frolicking Fairies via Wikimedia Commons

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21 Comments

  1. Anonymous  

    Did Alex Katz write this? Or was it Alex Taylor? If Alex Katz did indeed write this, that's a bit of conflict of interest, as he was actually in the cast...

  2. Anonymous  

    "The KCST spring production takes place outside and casts everyone who auditions, what could be seen as two separate logistical nightmares were handled well by LaPerche. It was clear that every location was painstakingly chosen for each scene for a reason."

    BWOG GET A COPY EDITOR

  3. Anonymous  

    liz watson is not bc15! try bc12!

  4. This sentence  

    "The production team shone as well, with lighting design by Lila Neiswanger CC’12 that created beautiful shadows and patterns that added to the experience and costumes by Liz Watson and Emily Putscher, both BC’15, that made the many distinctions between the characters noticeable accented by terrific make up by Isabella Serrani."

    Strunk & White have some news for you...

  5. Let's get this shit started  

    >Bwog in charge of writing clear and concise sentences

  6. This...  

    Review is pretty good... but Alex was in the show? How is supposed to ACTUALLY review a show he's cast in?

  7. Anonymous  

    OH MY GOD, BEST THEATRE (see, i spelled it, like... with an RE to sound cultured) REVIEW EVAR. FINALLY someone gives us the much needed hyperbolic positivity we deserve.

    /theater community.

    in other news, who actually wrote this review?

  8. EKG fan!

    The show was amazing! Double header with varsity was great last night. It shoulda been midsummer in Mongolia because the actors need parkas! You guys really rock!

  9. Anonymous  

    This review is terrible, the show amazing.

  10. kcst 4 life

    YAAAAY KCST!! Fantastic job! Endlessly captivating and inspiring! I love you all!

    I appreciate that this review recognizes the diverse wealth of talent in the cast and crew. It left out a few important names, however-- particularly the ensemble directors Yisa Fermin, BC 12 and Liz Watson (also did costumes). These ladies should get awards too!

    In fact, everyone should fricken get awards, this show was just too fabulous! I especially love EKG running like a pro and scaling bushes in her espadrilles-- that is commitment. And the Titania and Oberon dance duet-- omg, I was swooooooning!! And the rude mechanicals play was brilliantly interpreted-- i was dying, literally rolling on low steps laughing. plus, Silberthau as the wall= perfect! And, and, and... oh man, too many good things to mention them all! These are just a few my personal highlights from an all-around enchanting, fun, feel-good show! Amazing job, everyone!! Congrats!!

  11. Anonymous  

    My favorite part of the entire show was the ending. The bubbles over Low plaza, along with the softly singing fairies, made for a perfect ending.

  12. also  

    LOVED the sufjan stevens age-of-adz-tour aesthetic for the fairies (neon outfits, fluorescent tape, even wings on the back of one of the drummers). Props to whoever came up with that one!

  13. John Goodwin CC'12  

    Saw this last night and loved every second of it. This isn't just a play--it's an experience: trippy fairies with neon outfits, songs, dancing, physical humor, bubbles, the whole package. Congrats to Brian LaPerche on directing such a fun theatrical event, and congrats to all involved on the best midnight show I've seen here!

  14. Lisa  

    If you haven't seen the show yet, see it tonight. It is beautiful and hilarious...so much talent in the cast and production team.

    And to you seniors out there: let this show make you fall in love with Columbia's gorgeous campus one more time before you graduate.

    Congrats to all! It's a truly spectacular show in all regards!

  15. That Duke  

    is gonna rule the world someday. Congrats to Chuckles too!

  16. Anonymous

    The costumes were the best. Especially the scenes where the chicks were crawling around on all fours with their asses up in the air just begging for it. Pleather and hot pants have taken this show to a new level. I love shakespeare now

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