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Charles Isherwood of the NY Times on the Chamber play “I emerged stunned and disoriented, partly stimulated and partly exhausted. Theater rarely makes you feel any of these things consistently, let alone simultaneously.” and this of the other “Mr. Abraham’s production ranks among the most purely enchanting I’ve seen”
“Abraham emphasizes his concern with Dream’s and its source material’s representation of ceaseless metamorphosis in the unfolding of true love’s unsmooth course…Whatever loose ends or conflicts may remain between spouses, the director appears to want to accommodate them on behalf of what the Wedding Couple represent along the way to normalizing the new normal.”
“Abraham is making a statement. Good for him, say I. There is great value in a production that takes such joy in the sudden changes in the world. The moment should be marked…But whatever the gender or the soundtrack, you still have to believe in the complexity of the relationships.”
“[Director] Chris Abraham’s exuberant version…is a glorious rainbow…framed as the entertainment at a modern, multiracial gay wedding, this inclusive Dream has it all: same-sex lovers, a drag fairy queen, adorable kids, funny old folks, a Deaf character speaking in sign language, and a May-December marriage.”
“Dream has some of the finest poetry in the entire Bardic canon, and such lines were sacrificed so that a food-fight, wet-t-shirt contest and cheesy 80’s ballads could be inserted while a group of diminutive fairies sings Bruno Mars.”
“Abraham has made bold choices that enhance the play; asks the audience to suspend its disbelief just a bit, trust in the words and believe in that world…The transformative power of love and wonderful, thoughtful, joyous theatre.”
“An audacious concept fails to reach its potential — perhaps because Abraham had no real idea what to do with it. Instead both it and the play itself are pulverized into stupidity by a director who should know better.”
“Designer, JULIE FOX outdoes herself…he Festival Theatre stage is transformed into a beautiful and lavish ‘enchanted forest’ of sorts. Green grass covers the stage, lights dangle throughout, and in the centre is a small pond that is used to hilarious effect in the second act.
“Thanks to Abraham, Stratford’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is exactly why Shakespeare’s works continue to endure almost 400 years after his death. If kept in their original form, his plays would grow continually out of touch with modern audiences, despite the depth and beauty that lays in them.”
“There’s love on stage – a love for Shakespeare, a love of theatre and a genuine love between friends – that elevates this Stratford Festival production…Abraham has tried to do something different, interweaving Shakespeare’s greatest comedic love story with this warm show of love between friends.”
“Let me make it clear that my dislike of the show had nothing to do with its central framing device (that it’s all being performed to celebrate the marriage of two men) or its selective use of gender-blind casting (Titania is played by a man, Lysander by a woman).”