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It not a joke!!! It is the truth!!!

Giving people what they want: violence and sloppy eating

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A Midsummer Night's Dream at ENO (2011)
mini me + poo
ENO had a perfectly good MND a few years ago. Despite me not particularly liking the piece, I went again when it was revived. The set was particularly memorable - it was three different views of a bed, with green sheets and a white pillow. More of that was revealed as it went on.

So what's happened this time? To show the magical woodlands around Athens, the director has set it in... a 1950s British boys school. Everything is grey, from the walls to the playground to the uniforms. For no very good reason, the mythical creatures are the teachers (mostly). There's a total mismatch between what they're singing and what we're watching.

Add the way that they've chosen to have it run for 1hr 45mins before the interval, and I wasn't surprised to see people leaving before then.

It does get better just before the break, and the second half does feature some - gasp - red and yellow as the workmen do their bad play badly very well.

But while the singers (especially the younger ones) and the orchestra got lots of applause, there were lots of people joining me in booing the director and his team. He's done much better than this.

TL;DR - don't go, but if you do, either keep your eyes shut or arrive 90 minutes late.

This entry was originally posted at http://lovingboth.dreamwidth.org/428168.html, because despite having a permanent account, I have had enough of LJ's current owners trying to be evil. Please comment there using OpenID - have and if you have an LJ account, you can use it for your OpenID account. Or just join Dreamwidth! It only took a couple of minutes to copy all my entries here to there.

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Agree but keep applauding the kids

I am the parent of one of the boys involved in Alden's production. The production team for "Dream" decided that for this show the boys were not going to be allowed to take a curtain call. We parents found out about this after the piano dress rehearsal on Monday evening, when our sons came home upset and dispondent. Parents were furious and considered withdrawing their sons, emails were sent pleading with the Dream production to reconsider, the school also stepped in. For the full dress rehearsal the next day a compromise was reached, and the boys were allowed to bow, albeit from behind their windows. It was heartwarming to hear the rousing applause the boys got last night, although the ENO don't care about the boys, clearly the audience appreciates them. Some background for you. The boys are very young (10-12) and many only joined Trinity School this year and had never sung before, so you can imagine how hard they have had to work (mostly through their Easter holiday) to be able to sing the 20th-century music of Britten on stage at a leading opera house. The school expect them to keep on top of ALL their studies - both classwork and homework and provide no support, this has to be done by asking their peers. The school also expects them in no later than 9.30 am even if they have been performing till 10.30 and not home and in bed till midnight, so they are exhausted. If that weren't enough, they have had Christopher Alden barking at them for the entire rehearsal period, very uncomfortable costumes which itch and a rather irratic system of care (sometimes they get fed, sometimes not). They get no money, their only reward was to be a round of applause and that was what Alden was proposing to dispense with because it takes too long to assemble them. Keep up the booing for Alden

Re: Agree but keep applauding the kids

I did wonder if they would have a curtain call because of the time, and I was delighted when they did.

Argh, some directors. Sadly, the first night is the only time they appear on stage, but I was also delighted at how many people were booing them. If all of this had been known, it would have been even louder.

I think the reviews I have seen reflect the reality - if you have seen lots of MND productions, this is a different one. Critics fall into this group and have appreciated that. But if you haven't, your chances of knowing what is going on, or indeed wanting to see another one, are minimal.

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