Monday, July 31, 2006


No fair. I saw this the night after I got back from Ashland, where they have the resources and time and training to burnish actors' physical and vocal skills, as well as months-long runs that allow actors to embody their roles in a way we never, ever get the chance to do in Portland, lest one is lucky enough to do eight shows a week at ART or PCS.

That said,there are some satisfying things in Lakewood's production: all the rude mechanicals, for one thing, especially Danny Bruno as Bottom. I won't say that Danny is a perfect ass, but, well... okay, he is. Danny can't help bring every molecule of himself into action. John Morrison satisfied me as Puck. That kook. He's more limber than I knew. The gymnastic and Marx Brothers staging of the forst scenes provided plentiful laughs.

The greatest room for improvement in ALL the Shakespeare I've seen--or been in--in Portland is in the sheer technical realms of physical and vocal skill (last night, I saw some collapsed postures on stage and I couldn't always hear the actors.) But, also, we all need to get more fleet-footed and changeable on our beats. We seem not to remember that Shakespeare requires us to make midline beat changes at full gallop--with full intentionality and at top energy--without much room for 'naturalistic' seques. Instead, we're plowing through our beats and let our verse lines trail off, and downward... (one of my personal sins.)

I'm glad we do Shakespeare as often as we do up here, though. There's always something there, a few glowing coals, worth tending.

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