Hey, this took me longer than I thought it would…sorry, still getting the hang of this laptop ‘pooter of mine. But the little beast seems to be working well enough,and even though I’m currently knee-deep in hilariously stupid potential legal woes, I can hold out no longer. I have to talk about show number two at the St.Lawrence Shakespeare Festival afore I burst!
As mentioned in Part 1 of this post (in which I chatted up the awesome OTHELLO), I was out in Prescott for a day of sun and theatre by the St.Lawrence. My travel mates Allan and David and I had some in-between show nosh at local pub O’Heaphy’s before it was time to head on back and get ready for the second half of our day of Shakespearing, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. Featuring the same entire cast as Othello, and directed by Ottawa’s Fringe Goddess Catriona Leger, DREAM promised to end the evening on a very positive note (Othello is smashing, but let’s face it, a bit of a downer). As with the earlier show, DREAM began each act with a spirited musical number from the cast. Music director Melissa Morris also took center stage in this production as Puck, most famous fairie this side of Tinker Bell, and besides playing a mean harp, she made a memorable impression as the irrepressible elfin aide to Oberon (Quincy Armorer, also doing double duty as human lord Theseus). Oberon is having a feud with his main lady, Queen Titania (a vivacious Alix Sideris, also doubling as Theseus’ fiance Hippolyta), and devises a plan involving a floral love-drug that’s TOTALLY okay because when Shakespeare wrote this, GHB wasn’t even a thing yet. Meanwhile, over in the human camp Hermia (Lana Sugarman) is being forced to marry Demetrius (Brad Long), but she really loves Lysander (Warren Bain) and her best pal Helena (Kate Smith) is just loopy for Demetrius.
They all run off into the enchanted woods, around the same time as a woefully undertalented troupe of actors are preparing a terrible play to perform at Theseus’ wedding. Loudmouthed thespian Bottom (Ron Klappholz, in a performance that leaves the scenery in tatters) impresses Puck so much with his witlessness that she transforms him into a donkey, then makes Titania fall in love with him. THEN she makes Demetrius AND Lysander fall for the sadly self-conscious Helena, who isn’t buying this shit for one second.
As you might imagine, much merry mayhem ensues, before a flat-out hysterical happy ending. Cat Leger uses every part of the theatrical beast to weave her magic…characters flit in and through the audience without a moment’s hesitation, the laughs come freely and frequently, and even Lady Gaga makes a cameo. Every performer is bang-on, and the minimal set is simply perfect. The final act, featuring the play-within-a-play PYRAMUS AND THISBE is an epic comic disaster that brings down the house and quite frankly MUST be seen, goddammit. The whole production is a joy to behold, and I couldn’t imagine a more magical setting for it that Prescott’s beautiful by-the-sea outdoor amphitheatre. An absolutely wonderful way to spend and evening, and if you can make it out for this show (OR Othello) during the festival run, fucking do it. Come on, what the hell else do you have to do with your summer? Nothing this good, that’s what I thought. Now get going! Peace, love and soul,
The Visitor (and Winston)