A Midsummer Night’s Dream A Midsummer Night’s Dream Julie Taymor’s brilliant overhaul of Shakespeare's A Midsummer’s Night Dream was truly stunning.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS The opening scene features Puck (Kathryn Hunter) falling to sleep on some sort of magical bed. This interesting choice by Taymor allows the audience to be transported into the mystical world of dreams.
Rude Mechanicals Taymor’s cast of non-elite human characters helped to bring the play up to date; it also made strong ties to Brooklyn and city life. Some props used in the show to modernize the Rude Mechanicals:
Final Thoughts While some may view this recreation of Shakespeare’s work to be sacrilege, I believe that Taymor saved the play by making it relatable and enjoyable for a 21 st century audience. The ties she makes back to NYC with her ethnically diverse characters made this the perfect production to see as a class.
Tosca The performance of Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera House was a culturally enlightening experience for me and my classmates.
First Impressions The thing I valued most from this opera was not the opera itself, but rather the experience of going to such a high-class event in the heart of NYC.
Connections to New York While this opera was left essentially unchanged from its original form, it was seeing it with a modern NYC audience that made the play so informative for me. I was never exposed to this sort of fancy- living before, and the culture was interesting to say the least.
Final Thoughts Essentially: The opera was good, but the cultural experience I had was great.
First Impressions Although I was aware that the dance was about accentuating the different moods of life, I did find it difficult at first to comprehend what was going on.
As someone who is completely foreign to modern dance, I will concede that it was a challenge throughout the dance to even figure out if Morris was currently portraying the Allegro or the Penseroso.
Connections: L’Allegro & Tosca As with Tosca, I felt that the real value of seeing Mark Morris’ production was going to the event itself. Being that both of these events were in Lincoln Center (and were quite formal), it gave them an elevated status in my opinion. Lincoln Center:
The Power of People In sum, observing people who clearly have a good taste for fine art at both performances at Lincoln Center gave our class a good feel for what it means to be cultured and artistically informed in the greatest city in the world.
What about Midsummer? While Taymor’s production was wildly different than the other two performances we saw this semester, this does not mean it was bad. In fact, I enjoyed Midsummer the most, because unlike the other two, I was actually able to enjoy the performance on a comedic level. Whereas the art at Lincoln Center attempts to awe and stun, the art at the Theater for a New Audience in downtown Brooklyn attempts to connect with people by catering the art to their needs, wants, desires, and century.
End of Seminar 1: The Arts of New York City This class has truly enlightened me about all of the great art that this metropolis has to offer.