Full marks for creativity and fun as audiences enter the fairyland of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in an immersive Slumber Here at Granville Island’s Ron Basford Park.
A mash-up of The Bard’s comedy and improvisation, audiences are encouraged to explore and interact with all manner of beings along a number of storylines.
My theatre companion and I decided on a quest to help free Caliban from her shackles. And even while Caliban is a character from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, it really didn’t matter.
Wandering through the massive playing area, we encountered all manner of fairy who helped us on our quest. The costumes and make-up on the characters were a delightful cacophony of colour and variety. Kudos must go to the cast members dressed in very little, stoically performing as the sun set and the temperature dropped.
Upon completion of our quest, we found ourselves under a tent with the mechanicals of Shakespeare’s original play. It was oddly hilarious to watch as they improvised Pyramus and Thisbē based on our suggestion of the movie Die Hard.
As with any improvisation, things do get a little messy, but each of this large cast were entirely invested. Speaking in a pseudo-Shakespearean language, their enthusiasm for the piece and their roles was infectious. The smile on my face lasted long after the show ended.
This is not a show for everyone though, as it does require a willingness to be an active participant. But if you let yourself be immersed in the world of Slumber Here you will be rewarded. I found myself married in the end.
Slumber Here continues at Ron Basford Park (behind Performance Works on Granville Island) until September 16 as part of the 2017 Vancouver Fringe Festival. Visit http://vancouverfringe.com for tickets and information.