Shit Gets Weird in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

 

Midsummer 3_Photo by Cheryl Mann
Photos by Cheryl Mann.

Here’s a pro-tip: If you’re gonna be bold enough to bring psychedelics to the ballet*, wait until intermission to eat them if you’re seeing Alexander Ekman’s latest work. The Joffrey Ballet is presenting the North American premiere his full-length piece, Midsummer Night’s Dream, now through May 6, and let’s just say shit gets weird in the second act.

I’ve seen a couple of Ekman’s shorter works with the Joffrey, and they always bring the unexpected, removing rules and preconceptions, and sometimes parts of the stage–literally. Midsummer is really more theater than it is dance, taking that chutzpah and expanding on it, with a little bit of industrial rock concert woven in. The “trailblazing” Swedish choreographer worked with composer Mikael Karlsson for the commissioned score that features indie rock vocalist Anna von Hausswolff. She joins the corp on stage as part of the performance with a bellowing voice that sweetly charms before it haunts.

Midsummer 4_Photo by Cheryl Mann

In short, the feature follows an uproarious festival celebration of the summer solstice into a dream sequence that verges on a trippy nightmare. Imagine one of the wilder parties you’ve been to in your life. Things start off fun and free like a hipster summer bbq, and the next thing you know you’re spinning in a wallpapered room wondering what happened to your pants. The partygoers approach, beckoning you to join their cult/ceremony/ritual thing (as the corp actually comes to the edge of the stage at the end of act one), and you’re all, I’m cool, I’m just gonna go to sleep over here.

And then the dreams come.

Derrick Agnoletti_Greig Matthews_Anais Bueno_Midsummer_Photo by Cheryl Mann

A bed floats in the air, tables are levitating, dancers out of form on pointe look more like the creepy girl from The Ring…It’s like a glitchy ballet straight out of the Twilight Zone. A couple of messed up fish turn up for some reason, straw creatures and headless men bound around and by the end it’s a room full of nearly naked bodies thrashing on the floor**. It kinda resembles the party you were just at, if it was on acid.

It’s weird, wild and exhilarating, and totally my kind of party.

 

Tickets for Midsummer Night’s Dream start at $34. Check the Joffrey Ballet’s website for show times.

 

*Not that this is something I endorse or encourage, but I can’t tell you what to do or not do.
**Dear People Magazine, next time you’re looking for the “sexiest man alive,” come to the ballet and check out the bod on Fabrice Calmels.

 

Unsolicited Applications for a Rebound

 

There’s the guy you haven’t seen since your first semester of college who (gasp) is getting divorced at the same time (!) and asks you to go to a wedding. Two states away. Six months from now.

 

There’s the one you kind of know from the local scene (also divorced) who offers support in the form of “venting or grousing or advice,” but is also “really excited to see you.” Despite not reciprocating any of his vibes, he still lays one on you at the end of the evening.

 

There’s the guy you briefly dated after graduation (high school) who, get this, also knows what it’s been like to end a marriage, and is there if you ever need someone to talk to, or, ya know, check up on you daily via Facebook messenger. 

 

There’s the friend you and your ex shared from the neighborhood bar. Yeah, maybe you had a crush on him back in the day when the drinks flowed and the mysterious artist type looked really good. But now you’re a decade older and part-time jobs and dreams just don’t have the same allure.

 

There’s the rando who you think is friends with your ex that repeatedly submits friend requests on Facebook. After straight up rejection, he still has the audacity to message again to ask if you want to go to Medieval Times. Huh?

 

Then there’s always the one you actually do want to commiserate with after mildly and mostly unconsciously crushing on him for a couple of years. Somehow his catastrophic break up is timely and relatable, and now I need a rebound from my rebound.

 

Good thing those applications keep rolling in…

 

Everything Is Temporary

This year is a new beginning for me. A lot of things came to an end in 2017, including my marriage and the website that served as my creative outlet. We bought a house, but then I had to move again for the fourth time in under two years. 2017 pretty much sucked.

This time things are going to be different. I’m not going to make the same mistakes again. Okay, I’m probably going to make a ton of new mistakes, but I’ll learn from those, too.

Here we go. New year, new life, new blog. New beginning.

 

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

-Becky (and Semisonic)