A taste of a working Shakespearean reworking
By Myron My
The great thing about La Mama’s Explorations season is that it gives artists the opportunity to present works in various stages of development. It might be the first time it is staged to an audience or a scripted reading. In the case of True Love’s Sight, we see a number of segments from their upcoming immersive theatrical experience.
Taking place inside the walls of Athens, the work, created by Michaela Bedel and Nikki Brumen, is inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We meet a number of characters from the play, including Theseus, Hermia, Helena, Lysander and Demetrius. William Ewing, Doug Lyons and Tamzen Hayes do well with their characters and are confident enough in making their interactions with the audience seem genuine and spontaneous.
At one point, Helena grabs three audience members – including myself on the night in question – and takes us into a shed, where she professes her undying love for Demetrius. Helena dictates a poem for me to write, as Demetrius will not read it if it is in her handwriting. It’s an enjoyable few minutes that allows the three audience members to gain special insight into Helena and subsequently Demetrius. My attempt at passing the poem to Demetrius is quite an enjoyable one.
There is potential for True Love’s Sight to be quite a memorable show, however with only 25 minutes of the production’s current material being performed, it is difficult to get a real idea of what its creators’ intentions are or where it is headed. Even ten more minutes would probably have provided some more basic framework and understanding for the audience, for just as we were becoming more involved with the story, it abruptly comes to end.
The one thing that needs to be ensured for successful immersive theatre however is that no matter in what group the audience members end up or what story they experience, they must still be able to piece a general plot and appreciate its intersecting storylines and the motivations of its characters. From what was witnessed in this performance, True Love’s Sight seems to be going down the right path.
True Love’s Sight was performed at La Mama Theatre between 4 – 6 December.