Midseason madness

Yet Another Fairy Tale...

By HC Lugo
Directed by Steven Thornburg
Spotlight On Halloween Festival
Raw Space Theatre A
Equity showcase (closed)
Review by Brittney Jensen

Yet Another Fairy Tale... is a silly but charming update of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Set in present-day Manhattan, this new version preserves a fair amount of the original's high-energy hilarity and adds light-hearted satire of the fashion industry, politics, and bad low-budget theater.

Half the fun in updates of classics is seeing how the characters translate into modern types, and HC Lugo's clever script doesn't disappoint. The Duke is now conservative mayor Thesius Duke (Lawrence Merritt, double-cast as Oberon). In a mostly expendable expository scene with his wife (Ann Chandler, also playing Titania) and assistant Egeus (Michael G. Carpenter) we learn that Hermia (Kimberly Prentice) and Lysander (Mark Cirnigliaro) are comically conceited supermodels. The fairy kingdom is Fairy-Tinker modeling agency, which co-owners Titania and Oberon use as a battleground for their dying marriage. Demetrius (Michael Shattner) is a hilariously diva photographer, Helena (Lynda Green) is his abused but devoted assistant.

Oberon still loves his wife and offers to sell his soul to the devil to win her back. Puck, now a fairy demon in training, offers Oberon a Faustian deal to get the enchantment going. Puck spikes the coffee at a Central Park photo shoot with Cupid's love flower and delicious comic confusion follows. A run-in with a rehearsal of an unfortunate Off-Off Broadway production of Midsummer Night's Dream set in the Fall provides the modern parallels to Bottom (a convincingly obnoxious Dana Caron Letowsky as Midge) and his crew (Larray Grimes as a farcically overenthusiastic director, Kenny Rials and Randi Sobol as beleaguered actors).

The acting was spirited but uneven. Michael Rivera's charismatic Puck stole the show with his wit and physical comedy. But Cornelia Lorentzen as love interest Petunia Goodfellow and Ann Chandler playing her boss Titania seemed to indicate rather than feel their emotions. Shakespearean verse is cleverly intermixed and the cast handled it admirably.

The show was part of Frank F. Calo's Spotlight On Productions' "2002 Halloween Festival," so the sets and lighting were minimal but serviceable. Robert Strong Miller's costumes were attractive and appropriate, especially Puck's furry ensemble. The Gay and Lesbian Acting Company co-produced but didn't seem to notice that the gays in the play (Demetrius and Lysander) were stereotypical caricatures. But, like the rest of he play, they were meant more to be laughed at than thought about, and laugh the audience did.

Box Score:

Writing: 2
Directing: 2
Acting: 1
Sets: N/A
Costumes: 2
Lighting: 1/Sound: 2

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Copyright 2002 Brittney Jensen