"Now playing at the Mcginn Cazale Theater is HoNkBarK! company’s latest production, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” One of Shakespeare’s most enduring comedies, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” a la HoNkBarK! includes a mammoth cast of 22, complex fight choreography and cross-gendered casting."
Now playing at the Mcginn Cazale Theater is HoNkBarK! company’s latest production, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” One of Shakespeare’s most enduring comedies, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” a la HoNkBarK! includes a mammoth cast of 22, complex fight choreography and cross-gendered casting. In this version of “Midsummer,” Linda Jones takes on the male role of Lysander, fair Hermia’s devoted lover, and plays Lysander as a female. This makes for interesting commentary on same sex couples, particularly at the top of the play, where the lovers decide to elope because the Duke forbids their marriage.
Ms. Jones makes for a fierce Lysander. However, at times, she rushes through her dialogue; her rapid line delivery is somewhat disorienting and takes the audience out of the world of the play. As Hermia, Sorsha Miles stands apart from her cast mates, delivering a well rounded and solid performance. Sara Moore bravely assumes the role of the farcical and charmingly egotistical Bottom. Ms. Moore clearly has a penchant for comedy and a wealth of comedic skill; she does, after all, have extensive experience with circus performance. However, it seems that Ms. Moore has borrowed too much of her circus background for the role of Bottom. In this “Midsummer,” Bottom comes across as a goofy cartoon character. Unfortunately, Ms. Moore has missed that what lies at the heart of Bottom’s comical follies is his genuine belief that he is a formidable actor, despite all evidence to the contrary.
Bottom’s wayward troupe of actors includes Francis Flute (Richard Bolster), Peter Quince (Todd Faulkner), Starveling (Jo Mei), Snug the Joiner (Shauna Miles), and Snout (Bridgette Shaw). As Francis Flute, Richard Bolster delivers an effective and charming rendition of Thisby in the play within the play. The rest of the mechanicals, however, seem too self-conscious in their pursuit of comedy. Rather than make specific character choices, the actors who play the mechanicals have chosen to play caricatures and, in the process, have succumbed to comedy’s fatal trap: playing what the actors themselves believe to be funny.
Director John Ficarra makes good use of the multi-level set, expertly designed and implemented by Scott Aronow. There is the feeling, however, that Ficarra has allowed his determination to make good use of the marvelous set to overpower his directing process.
According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.