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  •  REVIEW: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

    A Midsummer Night's Dream

    Puck-ing lot

    Shakespeare in the Parking Lot continues its tradition of stripped down classics on the Lower East Side with a scrappy "Midsummer Night's Dream."

    By MARC PALMIERI
    Offoffoff.com

    Actors can't afford the Lower East Side anymore. A decade ago it was still the slipshod, tumbledown ghetto-bohemian scene of an Off Off Off (and so on) Broadway revolution with storefront theaters like Expanded Arts and Nada making dreams night after night on pennies and credit, often housing audiences that were smaller in number than the cast. The names of the half dozen or so performance spaces along Ludlow Street from Houston to Delancey are about as common on a New York actor's resume as the words "TRAINING" or "SPECIAL TALENTS" and far more so than the word "AGENCY."

      
    A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
    Company: Ludlow Ten (Shakespeare in the Parking Lot).
    Written by: William Shakespeare.
    Directed by: Deloss Brown.
    Cast: Nicole Benisch, Jennifer Brown, Ryan Caldwell, Keith Chandler, Diana DeLaCruz, Tim Downey, Leah Emmerich, Nicholas Job, Elliot Joseph, Israel Mirsky, Rob O‚Hare, John Pepi, Andrea Ryder, Kimberlee Shaw, Diane Sintich, Justin Tyler.
    Choreography by: Jennifer Smiles.
    Music by: Raphael Crystal.
    Sound design by: Michael P. Hesse.
    Set design by: Geofrey Sherman.
    Assistant director: Andrea Ryder.
    Vocal track: Lauren Hauser.

    Related links: Official site
     SCHEDULE
    Municipal Parking Lot
    Across from 85 Ludlow Street between Broome and Delancey
    June 17 - July 3, 2004

    Ludlow Street is for the chic now, and for the gainfully employed. The dark shadowy corners where once flat unraised spirits dared bring forth great objects are now neon-lit and teeming with lively if unremarkable imitators of those stylish junior executive swinging singles on "Sex & The City." A cast full of hopes and dewy with sweat just out of an unpaid rehearsal could once spend some temp-job cash on a refreshment on the way to the F train without going broke on the second round. No more. Ludlow is for the noble class. But a Bottom can still dream there.

    A vestigial Ludlow 10 theater company with accomplished director Deloss Brown carry on a delightful tradition that has not yet been evicted. Shakespeare in the Parking Lot has been called one of the gems of summer — and this attractive and energetic cast, with a little help from a talented writer and a sweet East River breeze, hosts a buzzing delight of an evening even a peasant could afford to attend.

    A Midsummer Night's Dream  
    A rejected marriage arrangement, a custody battle, an unrequited love, a crew of hopeful part-time actors and a devious fairy (sounds more and more like the new upscale bars after all) set the stage for Shakespeare's magical comedy which was in fact written for the entertainment of nobles at a wedding. Brown pulls crisp, clear performances from all of his players, and wisely provides them with Geoffrey Sherman's stage and backdrop, giving a boon to voices (and ears) challenged by the elements.

    The cast switches roles on alternating evenings, which is hard to fathom when one considers the limitations of a three-show-per-week schedule. The performance I saw was so well-attended that the twenty or so lawn chairs provided by the producers were occupied before the whole cast showed up, inspiring an unexpected last-minute rush at the $.99 store across Delancey, where they sell small plastic chairs just comfortable enough for an hour and a half of pleasure.

    JULY 3, 2004
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on A Midsummer Night's Dream:

  • when its all said and done   from Kim, Jul 5, 2004
  • [no subject]   from , Feb 27, 2005
  • A Midsummer-nightęs dream   from Steve, Jun 23, 2005
  • ...   from Megan, Apr 3, 2006

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