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Ismene Brown on "The Dream"

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I love it when someone writes something about a ballet that makes me see it differently. Dirac posted the link to Brown's review on Links --


But there was one paragraph in particular that I thought interesting:

Ashton's genius for characterisation and understanding of the human heart was accompanied by a protean appetite for theatricality, for showing ballet's multiple worlds. The lovers' dopey comedy runs at a different speed from the skittery fairies, and the rustics are a pantomime - all separate planets suddenly conjoined by the magnetic pull of love. A company's intuition about this ballet saves no end of explanation.

This is the best capsule description of that ballet I think I've ever read. I think it captures one aspect of the ballet's structure and Ashton's craft very well. Other comments?

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I agree, Alexandra. The three sets of beings: fairies, nobles and common folk are all in the same place (more or less) at the same time and yet exist in different spheres. The nobles no more see the rustics than they do the fairies - and vv. None of the three groups can really comprehend any of the others. Ashton's genius lay in portraying that vividly by developing a totally different style for each group and yet have these styles integrate so very well. Of course there are moments of crossover - even the fairies have bits of slapstick - like some of Puck's antics and the fairy (I forget which one) who finds herself, oops, alone on the stage, and Titania playing with Bottom. The nobles have a lot of 'business' to get through before they can go back to Athens to be entertained by the panto troupe of rustics - sometime after the end of the Ashton ballet - while the fairies reclaim the peace of the forest.

By the way, the next time you see this ballet, take a look at the moon. Notice how it moves in the course of the ballet to show the passing of time. :)

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I've never thought of The Dream in this way before, and I wantd to say how much I love the idea:

Originally posted by felursus:

The three sets of beings: fairies, nobles and common folk are all in the same place (more or less) at the same time and yet exist in different spheres.  

I've seen The Dream 4 times now, three of which were on the RB Mixed Programme last week. I wish I'd gone for all 5 as it, along with A Month in the Country is one of my favourite ballets.

Unfortunately felursus, I missed the moon in every single performance! I was too enraptured with what was going on! I've said this before, but what I love about this production is how much is going on all over the stage. I never know where to look - at the quarrelling lovers? Puck hanging from a branch and egging on for a fight? Or the the fairies peeking curiously between the trees.

Alina Cojocaru was my first Titania and biased as I am, my favourite. She was sparky, but mostly very sweet and tender.

The last one I saw, Sarah Wildor, I thought wasn't as soft and at first I didn't like her quite as much. But then someone pointed out that Wildor's Titania was more edgy and more interesting. That got me wondering. The dancing I could see has so much detail and depth, but I hadn't thought the story did as well. I don't know enough about the play or the ballet, but I'd love to learn more. Does anyone have any thoughts?

Will The Dream ever be a subject on 'Ballets in detail', or is it not known well enough outside the UK?

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