A Midsummer Night’s Dreaming
William Shakespeare & Tang Xianzu
theSpace on Niddry Street
In association with the Universities of Leeds and International Business and Economics in China, this production is a combination of the texts of Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu.
The combined script works surprisingly well. Two modern couples wander off to an inn as a distraction from parents anf studies, although the characters have changed somewhat, the women taking on the men’s role and the men the women’s.
The innkeepers are Puck and Oberon or Spirit of Sense, Spirit of Moderation and Spirit of Sensitivity. We see none of the other characters or plots from Midsummer Night's Dream.
The interesting question which arises is can love be created by reason as well as love. There are cultures who subscribe to this idea (of marriage, if not love) with varying degrees of success.
The actors, who seem all to be Chinese, range from awkward and uncomfortable to competent. But the direction (LI Jun with adaptation by WANG Binging) and production values (sets by WANG Qixu, music by ZHANG Guokun and costumes by SUN Weiqi & LIU Yang) make up for most of the weaknesses.
The east/west collaboration is a good idea on paper but, as here, sometimes produces a little rough. But there is a goodly amount of energy and good intention to support the project.
Reviewer: Catherine Lamm