When: Thu., May 23, 7:30 p.m., Sat., May 25, 3:30 & 8 p.m., Sun., May 26, 3:30 p.m., Mon., May 27, 3:30 & 8 p.m., Tue., May 28, 7 p.m., Thu., May 30, 7 p.m., Fri., May 31, 3:30 & 8 p.m., Sat., June 1, 3:30 p.m., Sun., June 2, 3:30 & 8 p.m., Mon., June 3, 7 p.m., Wed., June 5, 7 p.m., Thu., June 6, 7 p.m., Fri., June 7, 8 p.m., Sat., June 8, 3:30 p.m. and Sun., June 9, 3:30 p.m. 2013
“When we entered into this project, we had this one-liner which said ‘all objects have the right to life,” says Handspring Puppet Company’s Adrian Kohler. “That was a kind of governing principle.” The South African puppet company has taken that motto seriously, and in this new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream you’ll see everything from trees and statues to hand tools come alive. That’s just what happens when one of the UK’s greatest theaters, Bristol Old Vic, enlists what may be the world’s greatest puppet workshop to collaborate on one of Shakespeare’s funniest, most magical plays. The two companies first worked together on the universally acclaimed War Horse, which won several Tony awards during its 2011 American run. With Midsummer, they’ve created a riskier, more avant-garde production with a future-primitive aesthetic and a cast that switches between human actors and their puppet counterparts. No character was safe from Kohler’s imagination — the four lovers carry small, doll-like versions of themselves, while Oberon and Titania wield huge wooden heads. Fairy puppets fly, swim, and flit their way through the air, and there’s even a tiny mechanical bumble bee. The overall effect is one of a surreal, unstable world where nothing is quite what it seems. It’s perfect, in short, for this story of trickery, mischief, and manipulation.