Lord What Fools These Mortals Be: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Delights

Glitter-laced fairy dresses and artsy woodland trees filled the stage at Charleston Music Hall Wednesday night for a delightful production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed by the Columbia City Ballet and directed by William Starrett.

Shakespeare’s famous comedy brings together characters in three different worlds: the lovers, the players and the fairies–all of whom are overseen by the fairy king and his loyal servant, Puck. The story consists of a love triangle that gets tangled into a knot, a fairy queen who falls in love with an actor-turned-donkey, and a mischievous fairy that manipulates the whole hullaballoo. Did you catch all that?

It comes across very successfully in this production as the dancers elegantly glide across the stage in distinct, beautifully crafted costumes made of sparkly toile and ribbons. The stand-out of the night was Puck (Philip Ingrassia) whose incredible ballet technique was heightened by his ability to portray a character who is both a manipulator and a jokester. He leaped into the air for jump after jump and kept the audience on his side as he caused all kinds of trouble.

Helena (Anna Porter) and Nick Bottom (Wayland Anderson) had excellent comedic presences on stage, including their exaggerated facial expressions and large movements. Hermia (Laura Lunde), Lysander (David Ligon) and Demetrius (Maurice Johnson) danced together beautifully, with a sense of youthfulness and love that fit this production perfectly. Oberon (Journy Wilkes-Davis) and Titania (Claire McCaa) gracefully carried each other through the ballet, in sequences of flowery duets.

The story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is truly a comedy in this ballet interpretation, and the themes of unrequited love and mischievous behavior are humorous. Because this dramatic nature takes center stage, this production is an absolute joy to watch. It is light-hearted, beautiful and bursting with magic and glitter, all of which leads its characters to finding true love and makes for a lovely evening.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream plays at Charleston Music Hall at 7:30 pm May 28-29.


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