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BWW Reviews: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM at Synetic Theater

BWW Reviews: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM at Synetic Theater
Alex Mills as Puck, photo by Johnny Shryock.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM returns to Synetic Theater living up to the hype of its original nine Helen Hayes Awards.

The story of MIDSUMMER sprouts from this love square in which Lysander (Scott Brown) and Demetrius (Peter Pereyra) love Hermia (Irina Kavsadze), Hermia loves Lysander, and Helena (Emily Whitworth), who used to date Demetrius, is still in love with him. With the interference of fairies Oberon (Philip Fletcher), Titania (Irina Tsikurishvili), and Puck (Alex Mills) love and anger run amok.

Director Paata Tsikurishvili opted for a silent dance adaptation of the play. The prospects of these sorts of pieces always make me nervous, both for the piece itself and for my understanding of it. If it is successful however, seeing Shakespeare through dance can be an amazing way to see it. For those who feel bogged down by the text, a well done production helps the audience appreciate the meaning and comedy of the story. In this production Synetic accomplishes this. When I read the text recently for example, although I understood some of the comedy in Helena's words, I mostly just felt like her obsession over Demetrius was sad. I greatly appreciated Whitworth's interpretation. She created a character who was slightly pathetic, but also hilarious and real.

Through the necessary cohesion of movement (Irina Tsikurishvili), sound (Konstantine Lortkipanidze), lighting (Andrew Griffin), and costume (Anastasia Rurikov Simes), Tsikurishvili has created a piece that even without speech exemplifies the ideas of magic and love that Shakespeare originally wrote of.

The cast was also able to grapple with the meaning of the production. It was clear that they all had a solid understanding of the text. Every actor was beautifully physical and expressive. This of course would not be possible without the, frankly, awesome choreography, but the emotion and reactions brought seemed personal. Whether it was the puppy-dog love look on the faces of Brown, Pereyra, or Tsikurishvili or Mills' mischievous smirk, it all somehow felt very grounded.

I would recommend this show to anyone. Yes some scenes were a bit long and sometimes I could not tell what spell Puck was using, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Because of the immersive tech I feel like I was brought to another world, which simply does not happen often.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM runs through August 9 at Synetic Theater, 1800 South Bell Street,
Arlington, VA 22202. Tickets are available online, at the box office, or by phone (866) 811-4111.

Run time is 100 minutes without an intermission. Haze, fog, and strobe lights are used in this production.

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From This Author Hannah Menchhoff

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