For the past few years I have been subscribing to two Minneapolis theater’s season tickets: Our Hennepin Theater Trust Broadway series, and the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. The Broadway shows are always spectacular, while the Guthrie’s are a mix of traditional and modern productions.
Within the past ten days I saw “Pippin” at the Orpheum; “Oliver! ” at the Pantages, and “Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Guthrie. Each one was remarkable and unique. I cannot say which I enjoyed most as they were all exceptional.
But this latest version of The Guthrie’s “Midsummer…” left both me and my companion breathless with wonder, laughter, and awe. The Guthrie has performed this Shakespeare play several times in the past, usually following the style of the Bard’s original scripts and its contemporary traditional adaptations. This time they did it in a modern format, with Twenty-first Century characters, but lighting, costuming and choreography retained the delightful mood magic. The woodland elves and fairies and their King Oberon and Queen Titania were exquisite, Puck and “Bottom” and the play within the play were all thoroughly delightful and funny. The stage craft was minimal, but very effective… scenes set mostly with lighting and a backdrop visual of woods and such. I cannot describe it properly… as I said, it left us speechless with wonder and delight.