A Midsummer Night's Dream (Sen noci svatojánské)
Theatre Review: As part of its English-subtitled repertoire, Švandovo divadlo revisits the classic Shakespeare comedy
Director Dodo Gombár adds a number of dimensions to Shakespeare's classic tale, turning it into a modern recreation.
A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of Shakespeare's most widely performed plays.
It's a relatively light romantic comedy of two lovers that escape into the forest in order to avoid an arranged marriage.
They are followed by two others that are involved in tangential relations with the former two -- or in some cases, would like to be -- in addition to their own romance of sorts. The story traces their adventures through the moonlit forest.
The plot continues to thicken with the meeting of mischievous fairies in the forest, and their application of a natural magic potion.
Meanwhile a group of "rude mechanicals," or local laborers are practicing for their performance of a crude play and upon entering the forest, they also enter into the foray.
Gombár's interpretation adds a modern twist by transferring part of the play into a modern corporation, with King Theseus acting as CEO of the company -- complete with interspersed scenes of them out clubbing.
Some of the lesser characters from the play are missing, namely a number of the sprites.
While the English subtitles are strictly by the book and remain in Old English throughout the play, Gombár switches to colloquial Czech for a number of the scenes which appeared to work well, gauging from the audience's response.
Being a play of three interlocking plots, combined with the antique Jacobean English and a subtitling system which is far from spot-on, the play is not easily accessible for first-time viewers.
However, if you're familiar with the story, or even with its various interpretations, this is a creative rendition that's delivered with flair, as can be expected at Švandovo Divadlo.
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