Friday, April 29, 2011

Michelle Pfeiffer, the Beatles, and Donald Duck...

John Conklin has pulled together quite a selection of striking clips from the Web, all with a different spin on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Enjoy!

In various versions of MIDSUMMER this group is call “the rustics”, “the mechanicals”, the “workmen”, the “clowns”… and now the “Beatles.”
A luscious vision of the Britten opera set in a mythical India with Bollywood overtones. From Opera Australia, directed and lusciously designed by Baz Luhrman (of “R + J” and MOULIN ROUGE) and his wife Catherine Martin.
And now instead of the Beatles we get Donald Duck and his crew wreaking havoc in Athens.

From Peter Hall’s 1968 film with a 23-year old Helen Mirren as Hermia, and Diana Rigg as Helena. David Warner is Lysander and Ian Holm is Puck.

Everyone grew up to become major stage and film actors... and for those old enough to remember the 1960s TV drama THE AVENGERS, Diana Rigg went on to create the inimitable Emma Peel.

 And from the same 1968 film, a (somewhat green) Judi Dench as Tytania.  

A ballet by John Neumeier for the Hamburg Ballet in 1977. It uses the familiar Mendelssohn score, but the spirit kingdom sequences employ music from the contemporary  Hungarian composer Gy├Ârgy Ligeti. Narration in this clip is in German, but there is much to listen to and see.

A silent Shakespeare (!) gives an interesting feel for theatrical style at the turn of the century.

A trailer for the 1999 movie with Michelle Pfeiffer as Tytania, Calista Flockhart as Helena, Stanlety Tucci as Puck, Christian Bale as Demetrius and, most notably, Kevin Klein as a totally unique Bottom. 

Beatles, ducks, mice…and now children.

The Balanchine ballet…as recently performed by Boston Ballet.

The Max Reinhardt film from 1935—Hollywood extravagance merges with an equally wild German baroque-expressionistic aesthetic…add Mickey Rooney (age 15) as a manic Puck and rather snarly James Cagney as Bottom, and you have a totally fascinating event. We’ll talk more about this Dream in a later blog entry.

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