The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0504 Tuesday, 5 November 2013
Date: November 4, 2013 at 6:04:31 PM EST
Subject: Taymor's Dream
In his review of A Midsummer-Night’s Dream, directed by Julie Taymor, Ben Brantley writes: “you don’t go to a Taymor production for the acting, or — let’s be honest — to exercise your deeper feelings.” No you don’t, but that is why I go to Shakespeare. I don’t go to see Cirque du Soleil setpieces or other theatrical equivalents of CGI, all of which bore me. As I wrote in this forum some years ago apropos of her film version of Titus Andronicus, “Taymor is a designer, not a director. She lavishes all her creative energy on scenery, props, costumes and other inanimate objects. She can treat human beings as stage dressing, but she cannot cast them properly or convince them to give good performances. . . . Her film is a characteristic specimen of postmodern Shakespeare: heavy on production design, but dramatically and histrionically mediocre. One cannot do justice to Shakespeare through imagery alone, a truth that postmodern auteurs seem unable to grasp. And Titus, of all plays, is about flesh and blood, the very elements that leave Taymor at a loss.”
I actually subscribed to TFANA’s season, but decided to pass on Taymor’s Dream. My main reason for subscribing was to see Michael Pennington’s Lear (March 14-May 4, 2014). That may or may not prove to be a notable experience, but it interests me more than flying harnesses and parachute silk, not to mention toffee apples and cotton candy.