COLORADO 2007

A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Colorado Shakespeare Festival is waking up — and shaking things up.

By Juliet Wittman 

Published: July 5, 2007 

The Colorado Shakespeare Festival has been so thuddingly mediocre for so many years that I approached the opening night of A Midsummer Night's Dream filled with skepticism. And nothing I heard at the gala preceding the performance — as new artistic director Philip C. Sneed pontificated on the history of the festival, his debt to his predecessors, his plans for the future, his gratitude to both donors and festival staff — did anything to dissipate my cynicism. But later, as I sat on one of the new, more comfortable seats in the Mary Rippon Theatre, something unexpected happened: I found myself enchanted.

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It's wonderful to see Sarah Fallon — whose Titania came close to redeeming the CSF's lackluster 2002 rendition of Dream — back as Helena. Speaking with precision and moving with a muted puppet jerkiness, she brings a real but never over-the-top humor to the role. She's nicely matched by Alexandra Lewis's brattily childlike but also sensual Hermia. The moment that Hermia notices one of the mechanical performers holding her stuffed dog, then snatches it from him and cuddles it to her heart, is out-and-out adorable. (This production emphasizes the act of watching — and hence reaffirms its own theatricality — at several points. The aristocrats watch the mechanicals' play with great good humor; Oberon and Puck sit on a forest log and stuff themselves with popcorn while observing the antics of the lovers.) Demetrius and Lysander are well-played by Josh Robinson and Robert Tobin as matching young dandies. Kyle Haden is a dignified Theseus and an interesting Oberon, and I like Karen Slack's odd and impish Titania and the way she communicates Hippolyta's feisty independence from Theseus.

Sarah Fallon: Hot Like Salsa, smooth Like Chocolate.. Come Taste Me ...