Sunday, July 26, 2015

Shakespeare, Sinatra-Style, Slays 'Em in Hoboken

Shakespeare uttered in thick "Joisey" accents and accompanied by tunes from the Sinatra songbook? Hey, I'm game:
[Director Chris] O’Connor credits the accents for “making us hear the play in a very fresh way,” but one suspects he just as much enjoyed making his Jersey-fied Lysander chew through lines like “Out, tawny tartar, out!”

O’Connor said he brought back the Eisenhower-era “Dream,” first performed by Mile Square Theatre in 2007, in honor of Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday, coming in December. Ol’ Blue Eyes’ songs feature throughout the play, and they are deployed expertly to complement and lighten the narrative.

After being turned into an ass and abandoned by his friends, Bottom comforts himself by singing a stanza from “My Way.” When Oberon’s manservant Puck finally gets all the Athenian lovers to fall asleep, ending their frolic in fairyland, the dulcet tones of “Put Your Dreams Away” play.

The songs do more than drive home the setting of this “Midsummer Night’s Dream” once again. They help to highlight the true force of nature at the core of the play – not the tides of the sea but the transformative power of love.
The transformative power of love--both the Bard and Old Blue Eyes knew a lot about that. It's a wonder no one thought to put the two together before.

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