Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dream Reviews

Some very nice reviews of the Tahoe Dream production. There were also some not very nice ones, which suggest that racism is far from dead in West Coast America. It's quite astonishing how dismissive they were of Native American culture - which apparently is no match for the great Shakespeare... It just shows how important it is to do this sort of work - the barriers are still very present indeed.

But, from the positive reviews:

" Director Michael Walling’s outdoor production of this evergreen comedy begins conventionally enough, with the humans in modern dress (and soon the young lovers strip to undergarments), while the nature-spirits wear American Indian feathers and hides. (Titania carries a papoose.) But what begins as a cute costume conceit deepens into an elegant reimagining of this oft-produced play. Puck becomes a coyote-like trickster from tribal legend. And Shakespearean lines like the “the wolf behowls the moon” take on fresh resonance when chanted under the starry Western sky, with moonlight on Lake Tahoe’s waters. The haunting music performed onstage by American Indian flutist K. Mockingbird is an inspired addition. Walling’s spiritual finale (part Shakespeare, part tribal rite) is serene and visionary—and also well-grounded in the text. You may have seen other productions before, but you haven’t seen a Dream quite like this one. "

(Sacremento News and Review *****)

"What makes this Dream stand out is the use of Native American themes in a gorgeous outdoor setting.... This production moves from comedy into a spiritual dimension, presenting Shakespeare's nature poetry in a new light... It's lovely, almost cosmic... A fresh, satisfying take on this familiar play."

(National Public Radio)

So - as ever - the same things which makes some people rave about a show are exactly the things that other people hate. And that's just the way it should be.

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