I first saw an interpretation of William Shakespeare’s Midsummer’s Night Dream in a stage production done by Ateneo theater guild in the Metropolitan Theater back in high school as a school requirement. Seeing students doing theater made it appealing for me which why I am now writing reviews for theatrical productions.
|The four lovers: Helena, Lysander Hermia and Demetrius played by Lhorvie Nuevo,Marco Viana, Antonette Go and JV Ibesate.|
I also saw the movie version that sets the Shakespeare comedy in a 19th Century Italy that stars Kevin Kline, Michelle Pffeifer, Rupert Everett, Calista Flockhart, Christian Bale, Stanley Tucci and more. In the stage productions, I already watch Tanghalang Pilipino interprets Shakespeare play in different worlds like World War II Germany and Kabuki theater style.
This year marks the 400th death anniversary of The Bard and what better way to give tribute than doing one of his comedies “The Midsummer’s Night Dream. Before you read my review, read my media launch conference post here.
Entitled in Tagalog as “Pangarap Sa Gabi Ng Gitnang Tag-Araw”, Director Carlitos Siguion-Reyna interpreted the comedy as a contrast to chaos and order. The stage design shows the castle as orderly and the forest below as chaotic. It is the balance of chaos and order. After all, there would be no order if there’s no chaos.
Even the costumes show order and chaos. The kingdom of Theseus is well-dressed with a touch of Westernized clothing while the female cast are dressed in traditional Greek as it was supposed to be. The faerie realm is the mixed up of the two which is also chaotic.
But to add more chaos to it, this is the first time I watch a play that is totally bilingual. Some lines were in English and some in Tagalog. But the story is quite clear. Comparing to the many versions I’ve seen, this is the best and the funniest. Even though Midsummer’s night is a comedy, it is still best to be seen for R-13 audience. It can be compared to sexy comedy. The characters of this Shakespeare piece are all sensual.
What makes this production unique is the immersive experience. Forget the traditional set up of theater where the stage is upfront. The stage is right in front of the audience and the actors can pass by your seat in the duration of the play.
For Mr. Siguion-Reyna, he would love to do Shakespeare again. He would like to do Corolianus because it is a political piece and very timely. Watch Pangarap Ng Isang Gabi ng Gitnang Tag-Araw with Audie Gemora as Oberon, Jackie Lou Blanco as Hypolita, Liesl Batucan as Titania on a limited run at CCP Tanghalang Huseng Batute (side entrance of CCP). For more theatrical stage productions, follow this blog and like L.E.N.S. blogs on Facebook .