Last weekend Cosimo and I went to see a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. It was put on by a local company that seems to have a canny sense of its audience: their play selections aren't especially daring (hence, MSND), and they obviously strive to keep them accessible and appealing to people who may not have much background in Shakespeare. This particular production was energetically choreographed, heavy on slapstick, and set during the "Summer of Love"--with lots of Beatles songs as incidental music. But since the troupe is also really talented, these things weren't just bells and whistles, but used in the service of smart, subtle, interesting interpretations.
Smart, but accessible! The perfect combination!
Well, you'd think. But we wound up walking out of the theatre behind a few fifty-something couples, and overheard their conversation. They'd loved the production. Then one of the husbands mentioned that their teen-aged son was studying the play in school, and one of the other husbands asked whether he or his class were going to see it.
"I don't know," the first man replied, and then laughed. "We were telling him they should--but now, after seeing it? I think this version would just confuse the heck out of the kids!"
The others laughed, shook their heads, and agreed.
Because, you know: if it's fun and has Puck wearing bell-bottoms, it must not be Real Shakespeare.