Perhaps the most effervescent and delightfully protean of Shakespeare's comedies, A Midsummer Night's Dream undergoes a literal and loving manhandling by Edward Hall and his all-male company, Propeller. Devoted to authoritative, gender-bent spins on Shakespeare's works, the award-winning troupe tackles the play with typical gusto, capitalizing on its dreamlike qualities while never losing sight of its touching and wildly convoluted plot.
Ever attentive to Midsummer's air of unreality, its shuttling between the worlds of waking and dreaming, the play opens with the cast communing in a circle, a potent symbol of the work's transformative powers. Initially costumed in white long johns and vests, the incredibly athletic actors are soon donning, and doffing, bowler hats, skirts, fur stoles, dinner jackets, and corsets, with--when the role would seem to demand it--absolutely no attempt made to disguise the performers' undeniable maleness, including hirsute chests peeking through silk lacing.
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