28 May 2011
Bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits, knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats
Earlier in the week I want to see a Shakespearean COMEDY. At a secondary school up at Edgeware Road, Year Seven performed A Midsummer Night's Dream.
There was tissue paper and glitter everywhere, and a whole tree crafted from cardboard and sparkles and streamers and probably a tonne of pva glue. It was seriously beautiful. The children had created the set, played the specially written score, made their costumes (or asked their parents to make their costumes), and learnt the whole unabridged wonder of a play.
I have been to countless countless productions of this most popular of Shakespeares, and I wrote an English A level coursework essay on 'the dark side of A Midsummer Night's Dream' (thinking I was edgy and controversial. Or something). This was probably the best I have seen. I literally cried with laughter at one point. An actual tear ran down my cheek as I watched Thisbe swoon. I hooted so loud the little girl in front swivelled in her chair and stared at me fixedly for the following two scenes. The kids threw themselves into it, crying 'You cankerblossom!' and injecting the two couples with the adolescent energy they should exude. Hermia was unbelievably pretty, and understood every word she was saying, delighting in 'Thoughts and dreams and sighs / Wishes and tears...'
The glitter encrusted 'love in idleness' was rather phallic, secreting liquid over eyes, I totally coveted the tweed and woolen outfit Peter Quince was wearing, and a few fairies stomped rather than floated, being twelve-year-olds with changing bodies. Puck looked about four, light as feather, and face painted all splendid. The strong London accents, often going at quite a pace, rapped rather lyrically. The fairy glade was sublime and I want to hang out there. There may be a 'dark side' to the play, but the kids were blissfully innocent, and I laughed like a foghorn.