Just sitting in my living room doing nothing last night, Saturday, I fell upon Shakespeare On The River being done at Confluence Park in Binghamton. One of my favorites, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, was to be performed outside, where the Chenango and Susquehanna Rivers meet, near dusk. An entrenching experience of the Shakespearean sort of centuries gone by.
So, I hopped on my bike and rid not a mile, and although I was late due to a rainfall, I was greatly surprised at the gathering of the crowd at this difficult undertaking. However, Shakespeare done well is worth any journey, and the confluence of rain, or technical snafus.
After a slight hold up due to unforeseen electrical issues, the play undertook its plight, and oh what a dream it was!
The direction of this marry band's play was undertaken by Tim Mollen of Binghamton notoriety, and excellently executed within the confines of a grassy knoll and park amenities. Full use of their space, and beyond was noteworthy and offered some sweet surprises among the crowd.
The performance overall was delightfully played, and the players themselves delved completely into their roles from the start!
The entire company was splendid and had the crowd laughing and wowing at the theatrics presented.
With a few minor cuts, to fit it under the moon's waxing gaze, I found myself entranced from the start with strong performances by the main characters of Hermia (Jessica Nogaret), excellently played, Lysander (Ben Kent), who truly impressed this writer with his cavalier expressions and good use of his voice to put forth an excellent story, and that of Helena (Heather Merlis) and Demetrius (Ciano Briga).
The scenes involving the band of actors to perform for the court were hysterical and excellently performed with standout performances by an actor I've mentioned in past reviews, and continues to amaze me with his natural and Broadway-caliber performances, (Connor Haynes) as Bottom/Pyramus. The Shakespearean dialogue rolled off his tongue as it should, without pretense, or thinking, but with character and depth. (Tony Yajko) as Peter Quince also greatly amused with his timely facial expressions, and line deliveries, and (Matthew Vavalle) as Theseus greatly impressed as well, with hysterically laden comedy!
A few more most notable performances came from (Andrea Gregori) as Titania, who performed Shakespeare in the finest of performances possible, as her lines smoothly and enticingly flowed from her lips. (Shan Towns) as Oberon also was stupendous in his portrayal, and showed a familiarity with Shakespearean dialogue, with great projection. Finally, I come to Puck, who's role was cut a bit, including his opening monologue, but was cunningly performed by a young (Gil Choi), who correctly filled the spirit of Puck with his spritely ways, and caused quite a few chuckles amongst the crowd.
The entire cast put on a great performance that never waned or ebbed and continued to flow together, as perfectly as the rivers beyond.
Bravo to an excellent cast, a great show, and for doing this all for free for a large attending crowd on a cool, damp Saturday Evening in Downtown Binghamton! The City of Entertainment!!!
Written by: Colin Bruce Munro Wood - 6:23PM ET - 06.25.2017
Heart and Soul Commentary
The World At A View Magazine