I saw A Midsummer Night's Dream
at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival
this weekend. If you're near Boulder, plan to see it in the next two weeks.
The Athenians were dressed in a 1920s style, which worked pretty well. The fairies had a very Burner asthetic, which worked excellently. In a departure from other productions I've seen, Puck had quite a bit of Grumpy Cat in him, sporting a dusty tuxedo coat, a beer belly, and a rotating collection of found hats. Totally a Burner.
The association got me thinking. Someone should record a Midsummer Night's Dream
adaptation at Black Rock City. Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius, and Helena are camp mates, at Burning Man for the first time. Lysander and Hermia are dating; Demetrius and Helena hooked up a few times, but now Demetrius has the hots for Lysander's girl. Annoyed with his lechery, the two head out for a night on the playa, planning to have a personal wedding ceremony at the Temple at dawn. Helena mentions the two's plans and then chases after Demetrius as he tries to track the couple down in the blinking and burning wilds. The two have an ongoing argument about love and its unrequition as they stumble from bar to dance camp to bar in search of their camp mates.
Oberon, a Cacophanist leader and long-time Burner, sees Demetrius and Helena arguing up and down the Esplanade. He tells his pal Puck to grab some of their crazy aphrodisiac drug and covertly slip it to both his sometimes-lover sometimes-competitor Titania, another Cacophanist leader, and to the arguing virgins. "You'll know them by the Reality Camp outfits and lack of headlights or glowsticks." Puck finds Lysander and Hermia, also poorly lit and boringly dressed, sleeping on two couches, part of an art installation in deep playa.
Meanwhile, there's a bunch of white collar guys at their camp (also birgins) rehearsing for a performance in center camp later in the week. Most of them lack any theater experience and one of them is cutely uncomfortable with the idea of dressing in drag, even though, hey, it's Burning Man. Puck happens by unseen, having found Titania asleep on a cozy pillow-laden art car parked across the street. As Bottom, the drunk actor with the big ego, exits the stage and ducks behind the camp's shelter, Puck trips him into a food scraps tub and then rolls him into a pile of costumes. Smelling strongly of bacon grease and cheap beer and with butt costume piece
stuck to his head, Bottom rushes back to the play. His camp mates get wigged out (maybe they were peaking) and split. Too drunk to be fully aware of his situation, Bottom tries to chase them, running straight into Titania's hammock. Titania falls immediately in lust, licking Bottom's neck where she can taste the bacon. Titania tells her friends to drive around the playa at her new beau's direction while the two of them cuddle in the most comfortable part of the car.
On the other side of the playa, Helena has lost track of Demetrius but then trips right over Lysander's couch. Under the drug's influence he starts trying to get in Helena's panties and the she gives chase. Hermia wakes up and can't find Lysander. She freaks out and runs off in a different direction. She runs into Demetrius, who got distracted by a dance party where Oberon and Puck happen to be hanging out. She starts accusing Demetrius of doing something terrible to her boyfriend. They get in another tiff and she storms off toward the other side of city. Demetrius starts to give chase, followed by Oberon on bicycle, but gets tired and crashes out on a bench by the Man. Oberon sees Helena and Lysander approach and slips Demetrius an aphrodisiac dose. Upon hearing "Whoa, it's Demetrius" from his friends, he wakes up and immediately starts a testosterone battle. Puck has meanwhile found Hermia and said "I think the guy you were with earlier tonight is over at the Man." She shows up, is insulted by the guys who were trying to get it on with her mere hours before, and hilarious drama ensues. The guys insist they take it to the Thunderdome, but get distracted by Puck with a really cool blinking light and spooky sound setup and get drawn to a hammock camp in the city where they pass out and Puck slips Lysander a hangover remedy.
Oberon spots Titania's art car and follows it by bike for a while, grinning widely. When they stop for a nap, Oberon slips a hangover remedy to Titania. She wakes up, totally embarrassed that she's been making out with a foam ass and wondering why her clothes smell like bacon. (She's a vegan.) Oberon explains the prank, Titania admits he got her good and the two make up. They take Bottom back to their camp and wipe him down with baby wipes, then set him on a couch on an esplanade.
Dawn breaks and the birgin campers find themselves cuddled in hammocks and madly in love. They decide to do tandem weddings at the Temple later that day. Bottom wakes up with a head full of crazy dreams and wanders to the Temple to journal and process. As the campers are getting ready for their weddings, he hears them mention that they want to see this play at Center Camp they read about in the What Where When. Remembering their theatrical plans, Bottom hops a community bike and dashes back to camp. His friends are worried and sad that they won't have their stage opportunity when Bottom busts in and stirs everyone up. They put on a production that would be panned in any normal theater but which is ridiculous enough to amuse everyone in Center Camp.