I saw five shows during opening week at Stratford, and I am impressed by how they all fit in to Stratford’s theme of madness. King Lear is a study of dementia, where he slips in and out of reality. It’s disturbing and depressing. Man of La Mancha is also an examination of dementia, but he is happily deluded. Truly the eternal optimist seeing only the good in people, he convinces us that dementia is the great escape from a gritty world.
Alice Through the Looking Glass is study of the world gone crazy. Alice finds her chess board characters becoming real and many things in her world are the opposite of normal.
There are dark-haired replica Alices, both female and male Alices. Similarly there are gender reversals in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Titania, Queen of the Fairies is a male playing a female, while Lysander the suitor, who is usually a male, is a lesbian in this version.
Both Alice and Midsummer have food messes on stage – how crazy is that? In Alice, Humpty Dumpty falls and breaks and we see a giant raw egg spreading across the stage. In Midsummer, the wedding guests have a food fight with cupcakes, concluding with the inevitable face plant in the top of the wedding cake.
The other show I saw? Crazy for You! And the dancing was just insane!
Sanjay Talwar as Tweedledee, Trish Lindström as Alice and Mike Nadajewski as Tweedledum in Alice Through the Looking-Glass. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.
Stephen Ouimette (left) as Bottom and Evan Buliung as Titania with Marisa Falcone (background, left) and Carla Bennett in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo by Erin Samuell.