Insurgo’s stab at Shakespeare still needs work

Photo: R. Brusky
Jacob Coakley

The Details

Erotic Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Two stars
Fridays, 10:30 p.m., Saturdays, 8 p.m., through Aug. 7
at the Erotic Heritage Museum, $25
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Erotic Shakespeare (7/15/10)
Beyond the Weekly
Insurgo Theater
Erotic Heritage Museum

Certain Shakespearean plays are indestructible — A Midsummer Night's Dream, now playing at the Erotic Heritage Museum, for one. There are moments of hilarity and lightness in the Insurgo Theater Movement production, despite a host of questionable choices. For example: Panting. In lieu of finding the action of a scene, actors are encouraged to pant, grunt, yell, hyperventilate and otherwise breathe heavy. And when things get really dramatic, Beane's actors collapse, crumble or just have themselves a lie-down — amorous or otherwise. This becomes a serious burden with the Midsummer set. As soon as actors get horizontal or sink to the ground, they can't be seen past the second row.

This, along with mood lighting that leaves large swaths of the stage in darkness, reduces chunks of the play to incomprehensibility. The men in the lovers' quarrel scene bellow and grapple like a pair of WWE wrestlers while the girls, downstage, shriek and yell at each other. You're not sure what you're watching or what you're supposed to take from it, save the most basic idea of "conflict."

Yet Midsummer evokes gales of laughter when scenes are presented with clarity. When Ernie Crucio stands center and delivers a dirty joke about his donkey-sized anatomy, it works. When the rude mechanicals present the tale of Pyramus and Thisbe simply, the humor is there. When the show is fit to a Procustean bed of "edgy," it veers wildly off-track. And unfortunately, this production stays in the wild far too long.


Previous Discussion:

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  • Penn Jillette—Strip headliner, TV personality and podcaster extraordinaire—effortlessly engaged the audience.

  • The musical production visits the Smith Center February 14-19.

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