I’ve always loved Shakespeare’s comedies the best. There’s always a love triangle, often a magic spell or two, and the master of words crafted the dialogue with lots of satire, puns, and innuendos. But without the Bard’s unique phrasing, rhyming, and double entendres, would a classic story be any good without any words at all?
My newly-thirteen year old daughter and I recently got the chance to find out, on opening weekend of the Colorado Ballet’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, and the answer was undoubtedly “Yes”.
I tried to prep her for her first encounter with Shakespeare by giving her a summary beforehand: Hermia loves Lysander, Demetrius is betrothed to Hermia, Helena is infatuated with Demetrius, and the fairies Oberon and Puck try to play matchmaker with hilarious results. I began to quote my favorite soliloquy:
“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine
With sweet musk roses and with eglantine
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night…”
She cut me off abruptly and said, “Mom. I’ll figure it out. Just let me watch.” This is a kid who is so literal, that if I tell her “we’ll be there in 5 minutes” and we arrive in 6, I won’t hear the end of it all day. So I was concerned that some of the intricacies would be lost on her.
But if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a ballet is worth a million.
Colorado Ballet does a world-class job with this performance. The costumes are breathtaking, the dancers impeccable, and the orchestra resonates perfectly with the sounds of Mendelssohn’s score. Featured guests, the Colorado Children’s Chorale, appear to serenade Queen Titania with a fairy’s lullaby. We enjoyed every minute of it, laughing at the fairies and the mixed-up young lovers ,and cheering when everyone finally ends up with the “right” partners.
Much greater than the sum of its parts, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is nothing short of magical.