JC’S THEATRE SPOTLIGHT – A Midsummer Night’s Dream … by Fire!
If you’re a fan of Halifax’s Shakespeare By The Sea, you have to get your butt to Canning this weekend to catch one of the last two performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream … by Fire before they pack up shop at Two Planks And A Passion theatre company for the season, Friday and Saturday night at a late 9PM start. Why so late? Well, the “Fire” part requires darkness … as the entire production is staged in the round, the audience all seated on benches in a circle, surrounding a roaring bonfire. (Plenty of passion, but nary a “plank” to be found by the way, aside from what the benches are made of … and maybe what’s being constantly chucked into the fire.) Fantastic ambience for an ancient tale of love and surrealism. For me, it carried memories of the early days of SBTS, when it seemed each production tried to find a new and creative way to use Point Pleasant Park to its advantage … a professional play by firelight? Why not??
Gonna geek out for a moment, Shakespeare-style … this production incorporates the incidental music that Mendelssohn was commissioned to write for the play in the 1840’s. Take a moment to ponder that Mendelssohn’s gorgeous music (simply and beautifully performed by the Two Planks cast) is about 175 years old. Meanwhile, when he wrote the songs for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the play itself was 245 years old. The songs are still newer for us than the play was for Felix when he wrote them.
This was my first visit to Two Planks And A Passion, which is actually much closer to the Blomidon Lookoff than it is to Canning. So make sure to take the short diversion to the Lookoff before heading down Ross Creek Road to the theatre. My honey and I chose the “picnic” package for a pre-show dinner. It’s sparse, but local … and includes a glass of wine for only $20 … not a bad deal, and a fun part of the country ambience.
And I can happily report that the BEST part of the experience was the performance itself, brilliantly acted by a crazily talented ensemble that brought each character, each line, to life … in high school, I played Lysander (one of the four young lovers), and because of the wonderful interpretation of the script, the meaning of many of the occasionally cryptic lines were jumping out to me – even lines I hadn’t quite connected with while performing the play!
This all has me looking forward to NEXT season at Two Planks And A Passion. Bravo!