The best version of Midsummer Night’s Dream I’ve ever seen just closed, and if you didn’t see it, you missed something really special. So why am I writing about it now? Two reasons.
One, I want to make sure I remember to include it when I look back at what I saw this year. I don’t want the fact that I was too busy pulling together my taxes this week to keep me from getting it down on — hmm, I was gonna say “paper” but I guess it’s “screen.”
But more importantly: I was there on that night. The night the drunk woman got tossed out. The first drunk tossed out in 13 years. In fact, we were just a few seats down in the row right behind her.
All right, first of all, before the show started, we saw her drink a pint glass of wine. A PINT GLASS OF WINE! In case you don’t spend as much time in bars as I do, that’s like 4 glasses of wine. And that doesn’t count whatever she surely was drinking upstairs before she smuggled an entire bottle of wine into her purse and wobbled downstairs.
Once the show started, she started a running commentary to her friend that must have sounded like whispering in her alcohol-addled brain but was actually loud enough that people across the theater were looking over to see what was going on. It started with her turning to her friend and saying, at full volume, “I took a semester of Shakespeare in school.” Her friend looked super-psyched that she didn’t have to wait all the way to intermission to find out she was with a scholar.
After a few rounds of being shushed, she started to figure it out, so she turned to her friend and said, “I have a comment, but they’ll get mad at me.” When that led to more shushing, she screeched, “Everyone’s being mean to me.” The guy behind her said, “Because you’re being rude,” and she came up with a zinger: “YOU’RE being rude.”
My favorite was halfway through act one, when she inched toward self-awareness but then veered away at the last second: “I need to call a cab or something….This is bullshit!”
At one point, the stage manager figured out a way to insert an unplanned interval just long enough for Melissa to come over and tell her to shut the hell up. Mysteriously, she was able to face forward and remain completely silent until Melissa was gone, when she slurred to her friend: “For some reason, they’re singling me out.”
At intermission, they tossed her out, although her friend pointed out that she had quieted down for the last few minutes of the act. We helpfully pointed out it was because SHE HAD PASSED OUT.
The whole thing was hilarious, and the play was so brilliantly staged and acted that it all somehow blended together and worked. Plus, once the woman was gone, the audience was even more into the play. I guess all the repressed anger and emotions were released, the audience was focused and happy, and the second act was even more amazing than the first, with a fantastic ad-lib referencing Drunkie that brought down the house.
So take note: if you want to see some of the best Shakespeare ever done anywhere, always, always, always go to see Impact’s Shakespeare.
But please don’t bring your own flask.