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Thursday, 03 March 2011 00:16

Summer lovers, some are not

Written by Bob Wilcox
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At Washington University's Performing Arts Department, Director Henry Schvey, his designers, and his cast have mounted a very clear, well-spoken and attractive production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, a comedy and fantasy that is one of Shakespeare's perennially most popular plays.

Mike Loui creates a formal, almost abstract set of white columns, white risers, and a blue skydrop for Athens, then drops in oversized foliage for the enchanted woods, with Sean M. Savoie's lights adding projected flora on the walls and ceiling panels. Bonnie Kruger clothes the Athenian nobles in contemporary white formal wear, the fairies in earth colors (with Titania in colors of water and sky), and the "rude mechanicals" in today's workingmen's clothes and accompanying tools of their trades. It's all quite lovely, and Gabriel Abramowitz's original music, performed live, enhances the enchantment.

Cecil Slaughter has choreographed much of the movement of the fairies. They wave their arms a lot in this fairyland. Puck gets the best of the movement; it's a delightfully physical performance by Artem Kreimer, and at moments I wished that his energy could have spilled over into some of the other scenes.

The actors generally appear reasonably comfortable with Shakespeare's language, speaking it clearly and meaningfully, though with the occasional awkward phrasing and misplaced emphasis. Few of them have yet managed to make the words appear to come uniquely and organically from inside the characters they are playing.

Director Schvey and his colleagues in the Washington University Performing Arts Department add some appealing and amusing touches to a play that always tempts and challenges the imaginations of those producing it.

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