Entertainment » Theatre


by Joe Siegel
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Jun 19, 2018
A scene from "Dream" at the OUT LOUD Theatre through June 24.
A scene from "Dream" at the OUT LOUD Theatre through June 24.  

OUT LOUD Theatre's "Dream," based on William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," is one of the year's most visually dazzling and imaginative entertainments, a pure delight from start to finish.

Director Kira Hawkridge has transformed the classic story of lovers and dreamers into a beautiful post-modern panorama of light and color. Theatergoers looking for a faithful by the book adaptation will likely be disappointed, but anyone seeking a fresh approach to the material will be thrilled by what unfolds here.

The play consists of four plots, linked by a celebration of the wedding of Duke Theseus of Athens and the Amazon queen, Hippolyta, which is set simultaneously in the woodland and in the realm of Fairyland, under the light of the moon.

Hermia (Natasha Cole), who is in love with Lysander (Erika Rethorn), is unwavering to her father Egeus' (Beth Alianiello) demand that she wed Demetrius, whom he has arranged for her to marry. Meanwhile, Helena, Hermia's best friend, is attracted to Demetrius, who broke up with her to be with Hermia. Enraged, Egeus invokes an ancient Athenian law before Duke Theseus, whereby a daughter needs to marry a suitor chosen by her father, or else face death.

Peter Quince (Alijah Dickenson) and his fellow performers Nick Bottom (Mary Beth Luzitano), Francis Flute (Marc Tiberiis II), Robin Starveling (Gabrielle McCauley), Tom Snout (Pat Hawkridge), and Snug (Marc Tiberiis) plan to put on a play for the wedding of the Duke and the Queen, "The most lamentable comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe." The egotistical Bottom, who is playing Pyramus, is over-enthusiastic and wants to dominate the others by suggesting himself for the characters of Thisbe and the Lion.

The opening scenes are staged on a series of raised platforms all grouped together. But then the lights dim, the platforms are pulled apart, and the cast, sporting Day-Glo makeup and costumes, dance to blaring EDM. This virtuoso sequence, which lasts about 45 minutes, has to be seen to be believed.

The actors wear white masks, swing from metal bars, and gyrate and contort their bodies together into various positions. It is an erotic and fearless celebration of sexual freedom and fantasy, which is purely exhilarating.

There is an explanation for all of this, which I would not dream (no pun intended) of spoiling.

The performers are all capable and appealing, especially Luzitano, who delivers a virtuoso monologue at the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta.

Catia displays a fiery energy as Theseus, Michael Puppi is amusingly offbeat as Helena, and David Nando Rodgers makes for a charming and witty Demetrius.

The costume and lighting design are also first-rate, establishing a wonderful sense of mood.

"Dream" is the final play in OUT LOUD's trilogy of shows - the others were "Wonder" and "Escape." Hawkridge and her cast and crew have created a feast for the senses.

"Dream" is theater at its most daring and provocative, and does justice to Shakespeare's words and themes while presenting an innovative perspective on the story.

"Dream" runs through June 24. OUT LOUD Theatre. 134 Mathewson St., Providence. www.outloudtheatre.org.

Joe Siegel has written for a number of other GLBT publications, including In newsweekly and Options.


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