Monday night, I saw one of the few professional theatre events that come to Middlebury (a disproportionate amount of string quartets come to play Midd). The SITI Company put on A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Wright Theatre. It’s refreshing to see a piece that isn’t method acted, where an actor draws on his own experiences to create a portrayl of the character. The Shakespearean classic feels genuine because the actors are playing and experiencing on stage in real time. That’s what makes this particular show accessible too: the actors have such deep understanding of the text that they don’t attempt to recreate an old story, they are telling a new story in a new way each night. It was refreshing to see something so playful and fun, especially as they did a comedy.
The show itself is very sparse on costumes, set, etc. Punchy lighting (several specials with on-stage, old fashioned street-lamp type lighting) and an eerie soundtrack did the job well. The minimalist technicals allowed the acting to really shine through, a conclusion I rarely come to as a person with a musical theater background. Some fantastically innovative blocking by Anne Bogart, the (famous) director too.
For Midd, this is a big deal show mostly because professional theater groups don’t come here very often. Expensive as it is, I think it’s worth getting more theater groups to campus because, honestly, they get much better attendance (and applause) than the Polish pianist or the Viennese violinist.