Friday, April 19, 2013

An Enchanting Evening at the Ballet

First State Ballet Theatre ended its 2012 – 13 season with a delightful production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The production is the company’s contribution to Delaware’s “Year of the Bard” festival (Delaware’s statewide Shakespeare festival, featuring drama, opera, ballet, choral and chamber music, film, poetry readings, humor and more).
The FSBT’s sumptuous production transported the audience to an enchanted forest where a group of fairies wreak havoc and two human couples – Helena (Andrea Olazgasti), Demetrius (Jake Nowicki), Hermia (Emily Shenaut), and Lysander (Ethan Hunter Raysor) – frolic and fall in and out of love.

The basis of the piece is that we all make asses out of ourselves when it comes to love.  This theme is especially highlighted as the King of the fairies, Oberon (Alex Buckner) quarrels with the beautiful Queen of the Fairies, Titania, (Mary Kate Reynolds) over ownership of a changeling child. Oberon casts a spell on Tatiana, making her fall in love with an ass named Bottom — actually an actor passing through the forest whose head Oberon has transformed into a donkey head. To the dismay of her fairy court, Titania cannot be swayed from loving Bottom, even though he’s an ass.   Interesting and hilarious commentary, indeed!  However, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, not one of his tragedies, so rest assured the ballet ends happily!

All of the lead performers executed the choreography by Mr. Buckner with great precision, strength and skill. I’m always amazed and excited to watch ballerinas dance on pointe and I was not disappointed by this production. While dry ice engulfed the stage, Ms. Reynolds and the female chorus appeared to float across it when they danced on pointe during a pivotal scene. From intricate positioning to complicated movements, the cast exquisitely danced the piece on a lavish set by Bob Eizember, Maeve Barsczewski, Grosh and Jose Vasquez. The amazing set brought the character of the forest alive as vines took over the vast Grand’s stage. The set was complimented by the whimsical costumes designed by Benefis, Traci Eizember, Joanne Epstein, Diane Fretwell and Page Obara. The production was a true treat for the eye!  

Although this production closed, make sure you purchase tickets for FSBT’s next season. For more information visit and to learn more about the “Year of the Bard” festival visit

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