Midsummer in midsummer

I spent the weekend mostly outdoors: walking over the Pulaski Bridge into Long Island City and back again; meandering through Chinatown for hours with a friend; winding up, for the third weekend in a row, at the Water Taxi Beach. I couldn’t even write indoors.

The appearance of August always provokes me to wring every last bit of warmth and sunlight (though, yes — ha ha ha — you’d never know it from looking at me) out of the summer.

On Saturday night, Terry and I attended an outdoor performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, on a playground in Harlem’s Riverbank Stage Park. I wish I’d taken a camera along, so that you could see how ingeniously the props department devised a set, covered with painted roses, that fit right on top of the jungle gym. The slide even figured into the action.

This kind of thing can easily shade into hokeyness, but the production was more than competent.

Nicole Bowman, pictured above left with Lysander (Cornelius Bates), absolutely embodied Hermia. The West Indian-inflected costumes and dances lent fresh magic to the fairy sequences (although the sound, unfortunately, threatened to overwhelm Oberon’s, Titania’s, and Puck’s dialogue almost throughout). Best of all: the guy who played Flute transformed into the ugliest goddamned Thisby I’ve ever seen.


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